Bolton may have only just bounced back up to the third tier, but they’ve adapted again with ease and have looked at home back in League One.
In fact, their first campaign back could even result in a top half finish, with the play-offs even looking a possibility at one point. Whilst those hopes of a promotion may have dwindled, Ian Evatt can certainly be happy with the way his charges have performed this season.
There have been plenty of players who have stepped up to the plate and ensured it has gone well for them in terms of their league positioning – but there have also been those who have been cast aside, or perhaps not lived up to expectations.
Here then, is our winner and loser from Bolton’s season this year.
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Winner: Oladapo Afolayan
It seems the predictable choice but that’s because you have to give the youngster credit for the way in which he has performed this season.
At 24-years-old and with very little regular first-team experience before joining Bolton in the summer, you would be forgiven for thinking he might be a bit-part player or that he might offer plenty of creativity but perhaps very little end product.
Before bagging his goals this season, his previous Wanderers spell had brought 21 games with one goal. Nobody then would have expected him to become one of the first names on the teamsheet and for him to plunder 12 goals and four assists in 42 League One outings, making him their top scorer.
The forward has been eyecatching and he has been a creative force – and can be the person the club build their team around as they go forward in this division.
Loser: Nathan Delfouneso
There are a few who could go here – Andrew Tutte hasn’t been able to feature again, Adam Senior would probably have liked to play more than he has and the same could be said of Matt Gilks.
However, Delfouneso gets this one because he has played at this level before and has usually produced the goods in terms of his performances and goals scored. However, he was used sparingly as a sub, with 11 league games in total warranting only two starts. He also was unable to hit the back of the net and it resulted in him being shipped out on a loan to Bradford.
His hopes of producing more during the short-term stint have also failed. He’s played only six times for his new side since the winter window and has again failed to score. The forward will be hoping for a much more successful 2022/23.