Bolton Wanderers have had a nightmare campaign so far, sitting bottom of Sky Bet League One and looking destined to be playing their football in the fourth tier of English football.
The club have gone through a tough spell both on and off the pitch this season with the club being hit with a 12 point deduction before the campaign kicked off.
The points deduction at the start of the season gave Wanderers a pretty tough task to remain in the division for next season, but with the club 21 points clear of safety at the time of writing, it appears as if they need to prepare themselves for a season in League Two next year. Some of their recruitment has already pointed to that being the case with the likes of experienced League Two midfielder Jacob Mellis arriving in the winter window.
Keith Hill needs to bring in some quality for the level if Bolton are to bounce straight back into the third tier, so here are TWO players they have been linked to this year that fit that description…
Dunne was linked with a move to the University of Bolton Stadium in the January transfer window but instead remained with parent club Burnley. He spent the first half of the 2019/2020 season with Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town, but would only make a small impact with the defender making just nine league starts during his time with the Cod Army.
The Burnley defender has also had loan spells with Sunderland as well as Accrington Stanley during the latter’s League Two title winning season, suggesting that he has enough quality to help Bolton win promotion next season. The 22-year-old centre back fits the bill in terms of the type of player that Keith Hill will want to bring in over the summer window as his contract at Turf Moor is set to expire at the end of the season.
QUIZ: Can you name the player who scored the first Bolton Wanderers goal in each of the last 16 seasons?
Zach Clough was linked with yet another return to Bolton during the January transfer window, according to The Athletic (as noted by SBNation), but the Trotters were not able to get a deal completed for their former star. Clough burst onto the scene in a Bolton shirt back in 2013 with some eye catching performances playing as a number ten. Nottingham Forest were impressed with Clough and splashed a reported £2.5 million on the Bolton academy graduate.
After a fine start to life in a Forest shirt, Clough returned to Bolton just a year after his big money move with a loan deal until the end of the 2017/2018 campaign. Upon returning to Forest, it was obvious that he was not involved in their plans last season so he headed out on loan again to Rochdale and spent the entirety of the 2018/2019 season with Dale.
At times this season Bolton have missed that spark in midfield and have struggled to turn constant waves of defence into a short sharp burst of attack and Clough would be the perfect player to fit that system. His ability to carry the ball and make intelligent decisions in the final third would make him one of the best attacking options League Two will see next season should he sign back with Bolton.