Bolton Wanderers started their pre-season campaign with a 3-1 victory over Longbridge Town.
One player who Ian Evatt was keen to address was Xavier Amaechi, the former Arsenal winger who joined Bolton on-loan from Hamburg.
The tricky winger played the second 45 minutes for Evatt’s side, and whilst the 39-year-old holds high hopes, he believes that Amaechi is still a long way behind the rest of his teammates when it comes to fitness levels.
It is by no means a surprise or even a worrying sign, pre-season is just commencing and it is for this type of situation that these friendlies are for.
Evatt, who has challenged Amaechi to start the season in the best shape possible, spoke to Bolton News about the on-loan winger and his start to life in Bolton: “The issue Xav has is that he’s nowhere near fit enough yet,” admitted the Bolton boss. “He is going to need the whole of pre-season to get to where we think he can be.
“Out of all the group he is probably the furthest behind, from being at Hamburg and where he has been at, so he will be tired, he is going to fatigue, but I promise he will see the benefits of all the hard work he is putting in this pre-season.
“For now, it is about fitness, working hard, and staying fully fit and focused for what’s to come.”
The intensity of first-team football and the fitness demands that come with it will take a little while for Amaechi to adapt to. However, he brings quality to this Bolton side and Evatt will know exactly how to bring the best out of him.
He has lacked regular football for a while, and it is now about working hard to best prepare himself for League One football.
Bolton fans will be eager to see the loan-star play when they return to football this upcoming season. The ability Amaechi possesses, coupled with a rigorous pre-season under the watchful eye of Evatt, could turn this loan move into a big success for all parties involved.
The hard work comes first for the 20-year-old, but the rewards will certainly outweigh the hard yards he is expected to do now.