Bolton Wanderers suffered a frustrating 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday as they failed to capitalise on teams around them not being in action during the international break.
Ian Evatt’s side headed into that game in a really strong position with them having secured back-to-back wins against Shrewsbury Town and Charlton Athletic to move themselves to within touching distance of the top-six in League One.
Despite suffering a defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, it has still in the main been a strong start to the season for the Trotters considering that they only came up from League Two last season.
There are real signs that they building successful foundations for the future under Evatt and even if they were to miss out on a place in the play-offs this season, it would still have been an invaluable campaign for them readjusting to life back in the third tier.
The work that has gone on at Bolton to restructure the club and the squad since Evatt took over has been really well executed at this stage.
However, with a long time left in the season one area that the Trotters could tap into to help them is their youth academy.
With that in mind, we take a look at TWO of Bolton’s most promising young talents and assess whether a first-team chance could be on the horizon. While we also see what they would offer if they were handed a chance to impress…
One potential propsect that Bolton have at the moment within their youth ranks that might potentially be able to earn some more first-team chances is Mitchell Henry.
The 18-year-old has already caught Evatt’s eye enough throughout the opening few months of the campaign to be handed two appearances for the Trotters in the Papa John’s Trophy against Port Vale and Liverpool’s under 21s.
Henry was able to deliver a standout moment that showed his potential in that 4-1 win against Liverpool’s under21s last week with the attacker winning the Trotters a penalty kick after he had been brought onto the field.
Evatt opted to play Henry from the right-hand side and that shows the versatility that the 18-year-old could bring to the table for Bolton. That comes with him being able to operate upfront and also in a few other different positions in the attacking third of the field.
That could make the attacker a potentially invaluable option for Bolton to have waiting in the wings should they suffer a period of injury or suspension issues to some of their senior attacking options.
It could be a while longer before he gets his chance in the first-team in League One, but the fact that Evatt is trusting him in the EFL Trophy does show that he is in his manager’s thoughts right now.
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Another young player that Evatt has shown signs that he could be ready to hand some more game time with the first-team squad over the rest of the course of the season is midfielder Aaron Pettifer.
Alongside Henry, Pettifer was brought off the bench for Bolton in their 4-1 win against Liverpool’s under21s last week as Evatt aimed to hand minutes to some of the Trotters’ most promising young players.
Pettifer was deployed in more of an advanced role in the middle of the park and he managed to display some neat touches and generally looked capable of potentially stepping up should he be handed more chances in the near future by Evatt.
The 18-year-old has a long way to go and a lot of developing to do before he will be ready to command regular minutes for Bolton in the league. Evatt though is showing that he feels he is showing the right signs of his potential by his decision to hand him minutes in the EFL Trophy.