It’s been a solid start to the season for Bolton Wanderers, following their promotion back to League One at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
The Trotters have claimed eight points from their five league games so far this season, putting them 13th in the early third-tier standings.
Ian Evatt’s side have also been busy in the summer transfer window over recent months, bringing in no fewer than nine new senior signings before the market closed.
However, it is possible that Evatt may still be keen to add to his squad to ensure they are as competitive as possible this season, which given the window is no longer open, means Bolton would have to dip into the free agent market.
So with that in mind, we’ve taken a look at six free agents Bolton could yet target if they elect to try and add to their squad before the window reopens in January.
One position that Bolton may want to add to in the free-agent market is at right-back, with Gethin Jones currently the Trotters’ only option on that particular side of their defence.
Having seen his contract with Derby expire at the end of last season, Wisdom could be a candidate to fill that role, and his experience further up the football pyramid could be useful at League One level for Wanderers.
Wisdom has also been training with Derby over the summer, meaning he could be ready for action once he signs a deal, while his ability to play in both a back three and back four could be useful if Evatt looks to rotate his formations.
One other option to provide some welcome cover at right-back that could be worth considering for Bolton, is Conor McLaughlin.
The 30-year-old left Sunderland at the end of last season following the expiry of his contract at the Stadium of Light, but at that age, he does still have time left in his career to make an impact.
That could make the Northern Ireland international an appealing target for Bolton, not least due to the fact he knows this level well after competing for promotion from League One in the past couple of season with the Black Cats, which could now help the Trotters kick on at this level.
While Dapo Afolayan has perhaps not surprisingly established himself as an important figure on the right-wing for Bolton already this season, an injury to on-loan Hamburg man Xavier Amaechi means they are somewhat short on cover in that position.
That could mean this is another area Bolton look to strengthen in over the next few weeks, and one candidate to fill that role is Josh Sims, who left Southampton at the end of last season.
The 24-year-old’s Premier League pedigree, combined with his League One experience from an encouraging loan spell with Doncaster last season, means he could be an intriguing option for Bolton to look into if they are to add in that particular position.
Can you get 20/20 on this quiz about Bolton's season so far?
One other player Bolton could consider moving for if they do look to add to their options on the right wing, is Viv Solomon-Otabor.
The 25-year-old impressed in helping Wigan to survival in League One last season, which could make him a useful source of cover at this level for Bolton, and he is available as well, having yet to sign a new contract either with the Latics or elsewhere.
Having been based in Wigan last season, Solomon-Otabor may not need to move far if he was to join Bolton, and given some Latics fans were seemingly keen to keep him around, with the club offering him a new contract this summer, this could prove a satisfying deal for Wanderers supporters if they beat their rivals to it.
With Matt Gilks approaching the end of his career at 39-years-old, and Matt Alexander at the early stages of his career at 19, Bolton could consider looking at a more experienced ‘keeper, who still has plenty of time remaining in his career as cover for summer signing Joel Dixon.
That could lead them to Jamal Blackman, who left Chelsea permanently at the end of last season following a string of loan moves away from Stamford Bridge.
The 27-year-old has plenty of game time in the EFL from those temporary spells away from Chelsea, so he could be a useful option between the posts for the Trotters, if that a position they choose to try and strengthen in the free-agent market.
Admittedly, it is unlikely that many League One clubs would have a hope of signing Sturridge in the next few weeks even now he is a free agent, but Bolton are arguably one who could.
The former England international has previously made clear his affection for the club where he spent a prolific loan spell in 2011, so he could be tempted by a return to the Trotters, after more than a year out of the game.
Having remained a top-flight goal threat for much of his career, Sturridge could also be a more than useful asset for Bolton in the third-tier this season, provided he is able to get himself up to full fitness after an extended period out of the game.