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In opposition: Bolton Wanderers - ones to watch

14 April 2022

While being a solid unit is a big part of manager Ian Evatt’s 3-4-1-2 formation, he has also used a more traditional 4-4-2 style in some games of late.

Despite the departure of Eoin Doyle during January transfer window, the signings of forwards Jón Daði Böðvarsson and Dion Charles from Millwall and Accrington respectively have proved to be shrewd additions for Evatt. 

Former West Ham United man Oladapo Afolayan is their top-scorer with 11 goals so far this season, followed by Amadou Bakayoko with nine. 

The defence is held together by captain Ricardo Santos who’s helped his side keep 12 clean sheets in all competitions this season.

Ricardo Santos 

Born in Portugal, Santos arrived to the University of Bolton Stadium on an initial two-year deal in August 2020, after spending three years at Barnet, where he made more than 90 appearances. Having began his professional career with Dagenham & Redbridge, he made a move to Peterborough in 2014. 

The central defender featured 63 times across two seasons at London Road, before signing for Barnet. He joined Ian Evatt’s side at the start of last season and was named as the club’s Player of the Year, as well as being included in the Sky Bet League Two Team of the Year as Bolton won promotion back to the third tier.

Dion Charles

After coming through the ranks as a trainee at Blackpool, Charles dropped into Non League before really making his name as a regular goalscorer with Southport in an 18-month spell.

The Northern Irishman signed for Accrington Stanley in the summer of 2019 and immediately hit the ground running for John Coleman’s side. 27 goals in 74 league starts but him on the radar of several club’s in the third tier and above, with his contract set to come to an end with Stanley at the end of the currently campaign.

Bolton paid a fee for him in January and it looks like money well spent with six goals already to his name in his opening few months with the club.

Amadou Bakayoko 

Born in Sierra Leone, Bakayoko broke through at Walsall and was awarded his first professional contract with the club in 2013. During his early years with the Saddlers, he spent time out on loan with Southport, Telford and Worcester, before breaking into the first-team at his parent club.

He would go onto make 93 league appearances for Walsall, with almost half of those coming as a substitute. The 26-year-old joined Coventry City in 2018, and was an important part of the squad Mark Robins was building with the Sky Blues. He was in the side that won promotion to the Sky Bet Championship and then helped them establish themselves in the second tier, before departing for Bolton in the summer.

The move to the University of Bolton stadium has proved a good one for both parties with eight goals in 14 league starts so far this season.

Jón Daði Böðvarsson 

An Icelandic international with experience in both German and Norwegian football, Böðvarsson arrived at Bolton in January after his contract with Sky Bet Championship side Millwall was cancelled.

His first taste of English football came in 2016 when he signed for Wolverhampton Wanderers. He struggled for goals and spent just one season at Molineux before joining Reading. He started to find his feet there and averaged a goal every other league start for the Royals.

He signed for Millwall in 2019 but in three years at the Den he made more appearances as a substitute than he did from starts. His arrival at Bolton in January was seen as a direct replacement for the departing Eoin Doyle, and he already has four goals in eight starts for Ian Evatt’s side.

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