Bolton Wanderers’ on-loan Stoke City winger Thibaud Verlinden has admitted he doesn’t know whether he will return to the League One side for the second half of the campaign, with his initial deal at the club now approaching its end.
Verlinden joined Bolton on-loan until January on the final day of the summer transfer window for League One and Two sides, and has so far made 14 appearances in all competitions for the Trotters, scoring twice.
The move to Bolton had come after Verlinden had struggled to get any opportunities at the start of the campaign under then-Stoke boss Nathan Jones, although it remains to be seen whether the Welshman’s replacement at the Bet 365 Stadium, Michael O’Neill, will be more open to using the winger.
It appears that has left Verlinden facing something of an uncertain future, as when asked about what could happen in January, the 20-year-old told Bolton’s official website: “There’s a lot of games left and in January and I don’t know what’s happening yet.
“It’s obviously up to Stoke and Bolton to agree or whatever they need to do so I can’t really say much because I don’t know myself, so we’ll have to see in January.”
Regardless of what does happen in January, it certainly seems as though Verlinden has enjoyed his time at Bolton, with the Belgian saying: “It’s been absolutely brilliant everybody’s been really good with me, from the players to the staff from the people who work at the club, it’s been really good.
“I’ve played a few games now in League One and it’s a good experience, Keith and Flicks (manager Keith Hill and assistant manager David Flitcroft) have helped me a lot, it’s been hard but a really good experience.
“I’ve learned a lot, it’s not easy at times but playing against good teams and players who sit back and for me, that’s been good to learn.”
Since Verlinden’s move to the club, Bolton have lifted themselves from minus 11 points – following a 12-point deduction at the start of the campaign for entering administration earlier in the year – to a tally of positive five, as they look to pull off an unlikely escape from relegation to League Two this season.
This is an interesting one.
Given the impact Verlinden has made since his move to Bolton, you can certainly understand why Wanderers would be keen to keep him at the club for what could be a crucial second half of the campaign.
With what he has said here, it also appears as though Verlinden himself would be open to remaining with Keith Hill’s side beyond January, given this does seem to be an experience that is benefitting him.
However, with things not exactly going as Stoke would have wanted in the Championship at the minute, you wonder whether O’Neill will be tempted to bring him back to the Potters in order to boost their own fortunes in the fight for second-tier survival.