Bolton midfielder Josh Vela celebrates his 25th birthday today. But will it be a happy occasion for the youth academy product as Bolton gear up to face Leeds United this weekend?

The Salford-born midfielder has been a key part of the Wanderers first team in the past few years.

In League One he ran riot alongside fellow academy graduate Zach Clough, scoring nine goals from midfield.

(Photo by David Shipman – CameraSport via Getty Images)

This season

However, Vela has hardly played this season, only making nine league appearances so far.

Just as Luke Murphy has fallen out of favour since the start of the season, Vela is another player who has been dropped after Bolton’s promising start to the season.

Vela has been a mainstay in the team over the last two seasons under Parkinson. This season though, he’s struggled to get into the team for the most-part and has had to watch on from the bench.

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And according to reports from the Lion of Vienna Suite, Vela has been lucky to even be on the bench thanks to a rule from the EFL that requires an academy graduate to be part of each match day squad.

Without that rule would he even be in the squad?

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Furthermore, with Bolton suffering from well publicised financial troubles in the last fortnight (BBC), it wouldn’t be surprising to see Vela leave in January, especially after being linked with a move away in the past few transfer windows according to the Bolton News.

It’s a shame to see such a talented, home-grown player left out of the team every week. But with Everton loanee Joe Williams performing well on a regular basis, it’s hard to see Vela making a return to the first team any time soon.

(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

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