Wanderers’ former skipper David Wheater has reportedly played in a closed-door friendly for Bolton Wanderers against Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad this afternoon.
Wheater’s appearance in the friendly and at training is somewhat surprising after it looked almost certain that he was set to leave Bolton for pastures new.
The defender has been on the lookout for a move away from Bolton since his contract expired on June 30 with moves to Kilmarnock and Salford City being touted so far.
- Comment: Missing out on transfer target Anthony Stokes a worrying sign
- Report: Bolton takeover nears completion with hotel the biggest stumbling block
- Why a director of football could be just what Bolton needs
Looks like the lineup was as follows:
Brockbank, Wheater, Zouma, Boon
Conway, Oztumer, Pringle
— Reece Jones (@reecejones_3) July 16, 2019
The 32-year-old is not the only player of note in the friendly either with out-of-contract Harry Brockbank getting some game time alongside reported trialists Ben Pringle and Craig Conway formerly of Preston and Blackburn respectively.
Today’s friendly with Al-Ittihad appears to be quite off the cuff with it not receiving any publicity beforehand and it obviously being played behind closed doors at Bolton’s Lostock training ground.
Wanderers are facing Saudi side Al-Ittihad in a friendly today
— Lion of Vienna Suite (@LionOfViennaSte) July 16, 2019
Thanks to translating tweets from the Lion of Vienna Suite, we know that Bolton fell victim to a 3-2 defeat against Al-Ittihad with Erhun Oztumer and Connor Hall on the scoresheet for the Trotters.
It appears that Wanderers fell behind 15 minutes into the match before equalising shortly after the half-hour mark.
After an hour, Bolton took the lead to make it 2-1 but two goals in quick succession left Al-Ittihad with the win.
So it’s normal service resumed for Bolton who also fell to a 1-0 defeat in their first pre-season friendly against York City on Sunday.
- Where next for David Wheater: The defender’s Kilmarnock move is off
- Incoming Bolton owner supposedly seen meeting with manager Phil Parkinson
- Comment: Phil Parkinson is not perfect but he is Bolton’s best choice
Wheater’s appearance at Bolton’s closed-door friendly surely bodes well for Wanderers fans who want to see the big defender re-sign for the club once again.
This is purely speculation but you have to assume that his proposed deal to Salford City may have fallen through if he’s back playing friendlies at Bolton.
Of course, it could all just be a way for the defender, and other trialists it must be said, to keep fit while they look for moves elsewhere.
Hopefully though, it’s a sign of more positive things to come for Wanderers.