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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » George Thomason says club's youngsters can shine this season

George Thomason says club's youngsters can shine this season

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karlypants

karlypants
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

George Thomason believes Wanderers’ young guns have a better chance to thrive in League One now the club is a happier place to be.

The 20-year-old midfielder is looking forward to his first shot at this level of football after helping Bolton escape League Two.

But for some of the academy graduates, a return to the third tier represents a chance to show they have progressed since being pitched into action during some of the club’s darkest days.

The likes of Ronan Darcy, Harry Brockbank, Adam Senior and Matt Alexander had to learn quickly in Wanderers’ last spell in this division, when a difficult administration and a protracted takeover battle left the first team squad decimated.

Thomason arrived in January 2020 when relegation looked a formality under former boss Keith Hill, thanks in the main to a 12-point EFL penalty.

Thankfully, brighter days were ahead, and last season’s success has created an atmosphere that Thomason believes can help younger players like himself fulfil their potential.

He told The Bolton News: “We all take it in our stride, I think. We’re young lads trying to push each other on.

“I don’t really feel a weight of pressure, even though there is pressure because of the size of the club. But it is a good environment to be in at the moment for a young player because everyone – not just the younger ones like myself – but the whole team and staff have managed to make it a very happy place to be.

“Your only focus on the training ground is football and you can block out any of the outside noise.

“I know there has been times when that has been difficult and some of the lads who experienced that as very young players are still here now to tell the tales.

“Whether that all came too soon isn’t for me to say.

“I do think, though, that playing at this club must be easier now than it was for them at that time because even since I have been here there has been such a massive improvement. It is a great place to be at the moment.”

Brockbank, Darcy, Senior and Alexander are all contracted at least to next summer, while second year scholars Ryan Colvin, Jay Fitzmartin, Fin Lockett and Luke Hutchinson are also expected to sign new deals.

Wanderers continue to investigate how they will run a 'second string' side next season and whether it will operate in a formal league competition, or just compete in a schedule of friendly games.

That move, the club hope, will help some of its younger players to continue regular playing competitive football even if they are not involved in the first team set-up.

Thomason feels confident he can keep himself in Ian Evatt's plans for League One after pushing himself to the fore last term.

Wanderers’ young player of the year believes momentum from promotion could play a big part for the club when it returns to action in August.

“I can’t wait for another test,” he said. “I haven’t played in this division before but I have full belief I can perform at that level and keep improving and progressing.

“To make it that little bit better there is going to be fans in next season as well, so it will make that extra bit of difference, especially at home.

“I honestly can’t wait to get going again. From where we left last season on such a high, there is a big opportunity to go on a rollover and start it all again.”

Season tickets went on open sale this morning after around 6,500 fans took advantage of discounted prices for renewing a seat bought last year.

A big rush is expected in the first few days with the excitement of promotion still buzzing around the fanbase.

Thomason has experienced a ‘proper’ matchday at the UniBol, albeit in difficult times at the start of last year. And he is looking forward to seeing what the effect of supporters will have on the team’s performances.

“When I first came to Bolton I sat in the stands to watch games and there are thousands of them, and there are there to be heard,” he said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they will make a difference next season when you are on the front foot at home.

“I think at times this season we have felt like a big chance was coming or a goal was coming but not been able to quite make it happen, for whatever reason. I think with fans there it would give us that extra push to make things happen differently.

“I think the fans are going to be a huge factor for Bolton next season, they have a big role to play alongside our own performances on the pitch.”

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