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Zack Elbouzedi has forced his way into Bolton's first team plans

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Zack Elbouzedi has forced his way back into Ian Evatt’s first team plans at Wanderers.

The Lincoln City loanee had fallen down the pecking order since the start of February and had only appeared on the bench twice in the last eight games before Saturday’s 1-0 win at Port Vale.

Elbouzedi was preferred to Marcus Maddison at the weekend and Evatt explained that the winger’s attitude on the training ground had been the chief reason he returned to the team-sheet.

“I thought he’s trained so well, his attitude in training has been excellent,” Evatt said. “There’s been no sulking, he’s just got on with his job, got on with his work, worked hard and made it impossible for me to keep ignoring him. That’s what I ask of all the players: give me that and then you’ll be back involved and you’ll take your chance.”

Wanderers face a reshuffle in their next game at home to Walsall with skipper Antoni Sarcevic almost certain to miss out with a hamstring injury.

The midfielder will have a scan early this week to establish the extent of the problem but initial hopes around the camp are that he will only be missing for two to three weeks.

Evatt wants more of his players to take Elbouzedi’s lead and take advantage of Sarcevic’s impending absence.

“Zack’s going to play a part in the run-in, and all the players will if they show the right attitude,” he said. “I keep telling them all, they’re all going to play a part.

“You have seen what happened with Sarce, things can change in a split second in football and we have to make sure that we are ready when that opportunity arises, and the players are working hard to be ready.”

Maddison’s absence after a disappointing cameo against Cambridge United has sparked interest among Bolton fans – and his absence from the team-sheet at Vale Park is understood to be entirely down to Evatt’s selection.

The Bolton boss remains adamant that Maddison, or any of the players who have been waiting in the wings over the last few weeks, have a big role to play in the final 11 games.

“Absolutely,” he said. “We’ve seen Shaun (Miller) get us vital goals, Arthur (Gnahoua) get us vital goals, Zack came on and helped get us over the line. It is there for everybody.”


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