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Ian Evatt on Ali Crawford's long-term future

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Ali Crawford can still have a future at Wanderers, according to Ian Evatt.

The playmaker was allowed to link up with his ex-Bolton boss Keith Hill when he joined Tranmere on loan on a busy transfer deadline day at the start of February.

The 29-year-old has made just eight appearances for the Prenton Park club though, half of those coming off the bench.

Tranmere are also in the League Two promotion shake-up but after Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Walsall are now five points behind third-placed Wanderers in fifth with five games left to play.

Whatever happens between now and May 8, as things stand Crawford will be back at Bolton in the summer at the end of his loan spell and given the chance to impress despite not having been part of the recent charge towards League One.

“Ali has gone to Tranmere and probably not played as much as he would have liked,” Evatt said.

“He’s been on the bench for the majority of it, so it’s probably been difficult for him, especially looking back at us and how we’re doing. But that’s football.

“Ali’s still got a future at this club. He’s contracted for next season and when he comes back in the summer, hopefully we will be a League One club and it’s down to Ali to get his head down and make sure he’s back in our plans and in the team.

“Everyone will be given that fair opportunity and a clean slate.

“It doesn’t matter really what’s happened this season. This season in the summer will be forgotten and it’s time to move on.

“You can’t stand still in football and you can’t dwell on the past too much, it’s about the future.

“Ali will have an opportunity to come back and impress.”

Crawford is one of five players currently out on loan with Evatt previously expressing a similar sentiment about Liam Gordon, who has scored three National League goals since returning to his former club Dagenham & Redbridge and has another 12 months to run on his Bolton contract.

Fellow loanees Jak Hickman, at King’s Lynn Town, Jamie Mascoll, with Waterford in the League of Ireland, and Muhammadu Faal, Barnet, are all out of contract at the end of the campaign.

Hickman has made just one league appearance for his loan club having picked up a hamstring injury 35 minutes into his debut at Wealdstone on March 9.

Mascoll’s Waterford, who also have former Bolton striker Daryl Murphy in their ranks, have won one of their opening four games of the new season with the versatile left-sided player featuring prominently.

Striker Faal, who arrived on an 18-month deal in January 2020 after a prolific spell with non-league Enfield, has managed just one goal in 20 National League appearances for Barnet who are bottom of the table.


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