A look at a squad full of youngsters we could see next season if the Whites see themselves relegated to League One
I`m starting this article by making a not so crazy assumption that we`ll be playing football in League One next season. Whether Monday`s date in court with HMRC ends in administration and we`re effectively in League One immediately, or we just keep failing to win and end up getting relegated the “normal” way. For the record I think that provided our squad does get stripped for parts this January, we can (not will, but can) maybe perhaps possibly do enough to just stay up this season.
I don’t know if there is a benefit to finishing 23rd versus 24th but I would like to finish 23rd as a minimum just because Charlton`s results have been so pathetic recently it would be a humiliating failure to be trumped by them.
I`m not a fan of people saying, “at least we`ll go up easily” or “it`ll be fun to win some games” should we go into League One. At the end of the day being in League One is worse than being in the Championship. That said, it would be interesting to take a look at an exciting team littered with academy graduates we could see lining up in white next season.
My first big decision was to decide whether the Bolton hierarchy, whoever they may be in the summer, will sell Zach Clough between now and next season. I decided with yes, he will be sold. Generally Bolton Wanderers has a way of consistently disappointing in fans in recent years, and I don’t see that changing in this instance.
So here is the Cloughless team?
Bench: Rachubka, Feeney, Threlkeld, Thomas, Samizadeh, White, Twardzik
Of the squad I`ve shown here, Moxey is certainly too good for League One, but so is Casado leaving me with no realistic left back option from our current squad, next season`s manager can decide that. I`ll tell you who would have been a great man for the job, Andy Kellett, but someone at Bolton decided to sell him to Wigan for chips instead.
I`m not sure if many Championship teams will be interested in Ben Amos after some of his performances this season so he might stick with us. I like Feeney *reader gasps in shock* but he could have some suitors in the Championship too.
Derik is the only other player, as he is foreign and young, who could try to force an exit before he ruins his career at Bolton. I think he will turn out to be a top flight defender, whether it be in Spain or England, so I`d like to see him play more this season but he isn’t having his way under Neil Lennon.
The rest of the squad I am mildly confident will remain at Wanderers come August. Twelve of the seventeen are currently aged 25 or younger showing the kind of youthfulness we could see next season.
This defence certainly seems capable in League One, but it is the attacking force that could have us all talking. I`ve gone with Tom Walker on the left wing, he`s a creative left sided player with some first team experience already. On the opposite side Kaiyne Woolery would be an exciting option, he could play striker but I think his pace would also be effective out wide. Hopefully we`ll see a good deal of him before this season comes to an end.
My first striker is Max Clayton, who if he can regain his fitness and avoid injury for a sustained period will thrive in League One with some regular football, AND the support of none other than Gary Madine. Gazza has already proven himself in League One, and will have learnt a lot from this season. I don’t think he`s been terrible this term though some disagree, and if he can gain some confidence to take a bit more time with the ball at his feet then he could bag a fair few goals with young Max next year.
The subs bench boasts Liam Feeney as it`s most experience player, ideally I would have given him a starting place but I was prioritising youthful exuberance over all else.
The most notable names on the bench, are not Rachubka and Twardzik, but Jamie Thomas and Alex Samizadeh. I don’t know about you, but I`ve been crying out, literally crying, for these to play this season. You`d have to think in League One they could both become a part of the first team squad. The pair would need to learn a few things along the way but we`d all cut them slack. Thomas` immense free kick taking ability alone would be enough to justify his place, he`d bag plenty of goals from free kicks whether he`s playing in the under 18s or the first team. They`ve both been scoring freely in the reserve and youth teams, and looking at video footage (see the club`s YouTube account) of some of their goals they can be a real force. Their levels of talent appear to be superior to the level of what we see in the first team. As much as it pains me to put him down, the quality of their finishing is far better than that of my man Gaz Madine.
More than anything you get the sense that a squad of this make up would be a great group of lads who really enjoy playing together, and want to do well for each other, and that more than anything will please Wanderers fans who`ve been crying out for some more passion.