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Bolton Wanderers turn to new app in bid for League One success

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karlypants

karlypants
Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Bolton Wanderers turn to new app in bid for League One success 12851128

Wanderers have developed a mobile ‘performance app’ to help players stay fully informed during the League One campaign.

In what is a first for the club, players are to be given software on mobile devices which will help to monitor personal fitness, mental wellbeing, diet, individual performance analysis and timekeeping.

The program has been developed by technical performance director Chris Markham alongside software contacts in the boardroom and will be rolled out in the coming days at weeks at Lostock.

The app will eventually help Wanderers keep a check on players’ sleep patterns, weight, hydration and eating patterns to adapt training routines and help keep them at their physical peak.

Although it has not yet been officially rolled out, Ian Evatt has already been able to make use of certain features of the app to keep a daily check on his squad.

“We have a health and wellbeing form that the players fill in every day to make sure they are feeling OK and that will alert us if anyone is not," he said.

“It is part of a new mobile app we have got now which has been developed by some of the owners with Chris which gives us everything, really, the players can access it and it gives them a calendar, training times, meal times, video work, player clips – all via the Bolton Wanderers app.

“Going back to that league of one, we’re trying to do things differently here. And it is a big help.”

It is 12 years since former Wanderers boss Gary Megson surprised many supporters by jumping aboard the technological revolution, issuing his players with MP3 players pre-loaded with match information in the build-up to games.

Before that, stretching back to Sam Allardyce’s time in charge at Bolton, the club had issued players with DVDs loaded with clips of opposition analysis to watch in their own time.

Evatt believes the growing amount of time that young people are spending on mobile devices makes the app a logical move.

“If my nine-year-old is anything to go by, and I’m sure other people’s children, then tablets, phones – the youngsters aways have these things in their hands,” he said.

“If by having them they can access some time on those devices by looking at their physical data, their weight programmes, the match clips, the game itself. If we can tap into that, why wouldn’t we? It is the way the world is going.”

Technology is playing a bigger part at Wanderers, notably in the analysis department, which has been headed up by ex-Huddersfield Town and Football Association man, Markham.

Evatt is keen to make the point, however, that the data room will not be making final decisions, and rather guiding his own judgement as manager.

The Bolton boss revealed last month that he would not be relying on traditional physical scouting this season, with more emphasis being put on video and data analysis.

“It’s each to their own but I think it’s the modern game now,” he said. “It is about analytics, data, video analysis, interpreting that and then informing you to make the right decisions.

“Now it’s important we don’t get the wrong message across. We don’t make decisions based on data, or analysis, they are there to inform, guide and to help make a decision.

“I will always have the final say in a decision based on what I think is best, how I feel, and all that is a part of it. But it is there to help, not to make the final call.

“The way the world is now, we’re fortunate to have that resource. And we’re also fortunate that the board have backed me and Chris to get the resources we feel are needed to give us a better chance of promotion, longevity and success for years to come.

“Clubs want to spend millions on players but we want to spend more of our money on resources, data, staff and then when we sign players we end up re-recruiting them every day and that means making them better players and bigger assets for Bolton Wanderers, making it look better business-wise and a more sustainable model.”

Evatt is a week out from the start of the League One season but says there are plenty of places still up for grabs in his starting line-up.

If his side can get through their final friendly against Blackburn Rovers injury-free then a few more names may be written in pen, rather than pencil.

The Bolton boss knows exactly how he wants to approach MK Dons on the opening day, however, and believes Tony Mowbray’s side could give his team a helping hand to prepare.

“I have a gameplan in my head,” he said.

“For the last three or four weeks myself and Lewis (Duckmanton), who is our opposition analysis man this season, along with Peter (Atherton) have watched hours and hours of MK Dons, looking for strengths, looking for weaknesses.

“We have watched what they did last season, through pre-season, had access to footage. And we have a gameplan.

“We will be ready on that front, and the gameplan will either work or it won’t – it’s that simple.

“Luckily for us, Blackburn went to three at the back on Tuesday against Leeds, so that will help because MK play a three as well. Preston were three at the back, and that suited us too.

“We have an idea of what we want to do. It’s now about the finer details and making sure the players understand their roles and responsibilities within that, therefore have an accountability in the game itself.”

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