Ian Evatt has only been in charge of Bolton Wanderers for four days, but there has already been a fair bit of chatter as to how his team will look come mid-September (when the season will likely start).
Using a few names that have been linked with us, and what we already have, we’ll look at how he could line up next season. Now, managers change and evolve, and it may turn out Evatt tries to slightly change what he did from Barrow, but we’ll assume here that he’ll go with a 3-4-1-2, not too dissimilar to how he would play while at Holker Street.
We have Matt Alexander, but I wouldn’t want him as number one next season, it wouldn’t be fair on him. He was evidently brilliant when called upon last August (not just against Coventry) but there’s a big difference, especially in goal, between having a couple of good games and being number one. He either needs to go out on loan or continue as number two, and maybe even get the nod in cup competitions. Whether that’s the re-signing of Remi Matthews, who for the record I would take, or someone else, is up to you.
Wanderers have two first-team centre backs already. Ryan Delaney joined in January and had a decent spell prior to football shutting down in March, while although Harry Brockbank has generally played on the right of the back four, a wing-back system would probably mean he’s better suited to being the right-sided of the three central defenders. Liam Edwards and Adam Senior are also on our books, then it’s a case of bringing in others, Jordan Turnbull was released by Northampton the other day, a solid defender who can play in midfield too. While he hasn’t been linked with us as far as I know, he is a name that popped up and sounds as though it could fit the blueprint. We’ll need others too, and at least one with an older head, even if we rightly look at younger players as a rule.
Wing-backs and midfield
No idea where to start with the wing-back positions – re-signing Josh Emmanuel might work on the right flank, as his attacking attributes were often more praised than his defensive ones. The wing-back or full-back areas need to be looked at though, four new signings needed. Into midfield, and that’s where we have already made some progress. Ronan Darcy has signed on, Ali Crawford signed a two-year deal on Friday, plus Sonny Graham is there too. Over the weekend we have been linked with Jamie Devitt and Antoni Sarcevic, two more attacking midfielders, while Jay Spearing has been linked with a return, although I can’t see him having to drop to League Two despite being released by Blackpool.
Eoin Doyle isn’t done, but it seems as though he will be a Wanderers player. He comes off a brilliant season for Swindon last year, and for a free we’ll struggle to get a more proven scorer, but his goalscoring stats do make him a bit streaky. I think he’ll be a good signing, don’t get me wrong, but don’t be too hard on him if he doesn’t fully replicate what he did last season. Elsewhere, Dennis Politic may come into the middle in the absence of a winger’s role, while we could, and should look to sign other strikers too.