Keith Hill hasn’t held back in stressing the importance of the upcoming January transfer window and how it could be crucial to Bolton’s efforts of staving off relegation come the end of the season.
Speaking to the Bolton News this week, Hill said: “It’s hard to look past your nose at the moment but January, I believe will be one of the most important windows.”
“The next two – January and the summer – we have to get right” he continued.
“You need players who are going to come in and make it uncomfortable for others to get a shirt for the existing players. I need 22 players who are all competing for a starting 11 place, not 13.”
Wanderers’ lack of depth has been brought to the fore in recent weeks after injury plagued Keith Hill’s side but what positions is the Bolton boss likely to strengthen?
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It’s worth mentioning now that we’re making the assumption that Josh Earl, Jake Wright and Liam Bridcutt can be kept beyond January and that Thibaud Verlinden will be heading back to Stoke once his current loan deal ends.
Players available: Remi Matthews, Ben Alnwick, Matthew Alexander
Anyone needed?: Ben Alnwick has been kept out of action nearly all season with injuries but once he’s fit, goalkeeper is one of the few positions Wanderers don’t really need to strengthen.
Players available: Josh Emmanuel, Harry Brockbank
Anyone needed?: Emmanuel has improved dramatically since joining Wanderers but his current cover is Harry Brockbank who did impress earlier in the season but is naturally a centre back and has also been injury-laden since Keith Hill took charge. Possibly an area to look at.
Players available: Jake Wright, Jack Hobbs, Josh Earl, Yoan Zouma, Liam Edwards, Adam Senior
Anyone needed?: Apart from Wright and Hobbs, there is a drastic lack of experience in the defensive ranks for Bolton. It’s obviously good to give the youngsters some game time but another experienced head at the back wouldn’t go amiss.
Players available: Adam Chicksen, Joe Bunney
Anyone needed?: Adam Chicksen has played all but one match since joining Wanderers due to the only other out-and-out left back, Joe Bunney, suffering a freak car accident just days after signing. Depending on Bunney’s recovery, another left back option could prove useful.
Players available: Liam Bridcutt, Ali Crawford, Jason Lowe, Luke Murphy, Sonny Graham, Ronan Darcy, James Weir
Anyone needed?: Just like in defence, if the starting three or four players are taken out of the squad, Wanderers would be left pretty bare. Another experienced midfielder would definitely be of some use, especially given the injury to Ali Crawford and potential departure of Liam Bridcutt.
Players available: Joe Dodoo, Will Buckley
Anyone needed?: Joe Dodoo has looked relatively solid since joining but with Will Buckley (who can also play on the left) out injured frequently, more cover in the wide areas is definitely one to look out for.
Players available: Dennis Politic
Anyone needed?: With Thibaud Verlinden looking likely to depart in January, leaving Dennis Politic and Will Buckley as the only options on the left wing (Chris O’Grady has played on the wing this season but really shouldn’t), another skilful winger is arguably the biggest priority for Wanderers if one can be found.
Players available: Daryl Murphy, Chris O’Grady, Connor Hall
Anyone needed?: Wanderers may have three strikers but none of them are particularly pacy. We’d love to see more of Connor Hall but a new striker with a turn of pace could certainly prove useful.