Bolton are gearing up to face Tranmere Rovers at the weekend but will have to rely on their team of kids once again.
Thanks to the departure of Erhun Oztumer yesterday, Bolton have been left with just five senior players, two of whom are goalkeepers.
The predicament Bolton find themselves in means that the first team is having to be, not just bolstered, but completely filled with players from the club’s youth setup.
No one can deny that Wanderers’ youngsters have been absolutely heroic in their opening trio of fixtures, earning a hard-fought point against Coventry in the second League One match of the season, but could the demands of a full season be too much for Bolton’s young guns?
- Why Bolton won’t miss departing Erhun Oztumer
- Bassini court case adjourned: What happens now?
- Bolton hit with humbling reality check in League Cup defeat
A 46-game league season can be a truly gruelling affair for even the most seasoned of pros, not to mention the various cup competitions added into the mix that make midweek games a regular occurrence.
It’s a worrying sign therefore that Bolton’s Callum King-Harmes was down with cramp after just an hour in the Coventry match which saw him substituted off.
How the likes of 18-year-old Ronan Darcy, who some say is still running after the League Cup defeat against Rochdale, can cope with two or three 90-minute matches in a week remains to be seen but if he, and others, keep putting in Olympic-worthy running distances then it could burn the youngsters out in no time.
- Why Harry Brockbank should remain as Bolton’s captain
- Pride in Bolton restored as youngsters battle for draw
- Wanderers find new fan-favourite in Yoan Zouma
Bolton’s young squad is already being stretched to its absolute limits thanks to the injuries to Connor Hall, Josh Earl, Liam Edwards and Dennis Politic even at this early stage of the season.
This goes to show just how vital it is that Football Ventures’ takeover of Bolton Wanderers is completed as soon as possible while there’s still time to bolster the squad with loanees and what free agents remain.
While no one can deny the passion these youngsters have for the club, they have to be bolstered by a few more players with the legs to cope with a gruelling league season.
Meanwhile, Wanderers travel to Merseyside this weekend for the club’s first match against Tranmere since a 2013 League Cup tie that saw Wanderers lose on penalties after a 1-1 draw and it looks like Bolton’s kids will be filling out the teamsheet once again.