Wanderers' own Beast Boy has been backed to be a hit in League One this season.
Ian Evatt believes ex-Liverpool midfielder MJ Williams is in the shape of his life after switching to a vegan diet and overcoming knee problems that plagued the early part of his career.
Greeted cautiously by fans when he arrived at Bolton from Blackpool in January, the combative midfielder went on to become a favourite among the Wanderers support in the promotion season and now looks ready to kick-on again in League One.
“Physically he is a beast, he is an absolute beast,” Evatt enthused. “He has had to change things. He has turned vegan because he felt that suited his body better.
"He is really athletic now, lean but strong, fit, mobile. Yes, he trusts his knee now which is important, and we are reaping the benefits of that.
“Having those attributes and that mobility, but also that skill set and skill level with the ball and in possession are hard to find at League Two and League One level so we’re lucky to have him.”
Williams got into the starting line up against Morecambe in early February and then started 21 consecutive games, which included 15 wins.
Evatt faces some difficult choices in midfield this season – but Williams’ defensive qualities could give him an edge on some of his rivals for a starting spot.
“He’s become vital to use because MJ is probably the only one that does that side of the game for us in that midfield area,” the manager said.
“We have other options that could play deeper but it would be a different type to MJ.
“He gives us as much out of possession as he does in possession, which is vitally important. He screens the back four well, he is a physical presence, and he can build attacks.”
Williams got a glowing report from Tuesday night’s win against Preston North End but could be rested at Barrow today as Evatt looks to give other players extra game time at Holker Street.
“I must say I thought MJ was absolutely brilliant against Preston,” he said. “He gives us something completely different in there. When you’re 6ft 3, 6ft 4, competent and good in possession as well as physically dominant, it adds to that steel and a strong spine and I thought he patrolled that area and screened the back four brilliantly well.
“He is a huge part of what we are doing. We have got loads of talented players – Kieran (Lee), Sarce (Antoni Sarcevic), George (Thomason) – lots of talented midfield players.”