As Bolton tasted their first defeat in four games at the weekend, there was a notable absentee from the squad that faced Plymouth in the FA Cup, Thibaud Verlinden.
The tricky Belgian winger has looked like a real handful for defenders since signing on loan from Stoke on deadline day but was nowhere to be seen as Wanderers bowed out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle.
That, according to The Bolton News, is because Verlinden’s parent club, Stoke City, refused permission for Bolton to use the player in the FA Cup all but confirming that the winger will be heading for the exit door come January.
If Verlinden had played for Bolton this weekend, he would have been cup-tied and unavailable to play for any other team in the FA Cup this season.
It’s blindingly obvious, therefore, that new Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill wants to give Verlinden a chance to impress at his parent club when his Bolton loan expires at the end of December.
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Losing Verlinden would be a huge blow for Bolton as he’s impressed many at the UniBol with his quick feet and silky skills that make him a handful for any defender.
Like Verlinden, Bolton could also be faced with the prospect of losing Liam Bridcutt and Jake Wright come January as well once their loans expire.
The onus, therefore, is on Keith Hill to find replacements, either in his own squad or elsewhere come the January transfer window, although after making such a positive impression at the UniBol many will surely be hoping that the likes of Verlinden and Bridcutt can be brought back in after their initial loans expire.