Antoni Sarcevic is backing Dapo Afolayan to fire himself back into the Premier League.
The former West Ham winger has been in electric form for Wanderers this season, scoring seven goals in his first 13 games.
Afolayan is already looking a good bit of business for Wanderers after signing a three-year deal in the summer.
He scored on his only appearance for the Hammers, against Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup, but left the London club after five years to seek regular first team football.
Sarcevic sees no reason why he cannot return to the highest level – just as long as he keeps Bolton upwardly mobile.
“I hope he does, but only if he gets us promoted first, cheers thanks for everything Dapo!” said the Whites skipper. “Listen, he’s a good lad and I wish nothing more than for him to see him playing in the Premier League, in however many years. I hope he does because he has got it.
“He is a good lad that’s got confidence in his abilities and if he goes on to have a great career, which I’m 100 per cent sure that he will, it’d be nice to say that I played with him and hopefully he gets us the promotion this year.”
Afolayan arrived at Wanderers on loan in January but did not score his first goal for the club until the final day victory at Crawley.
Since then, Sarcevic believes his overall game has progressed to the stage where opposition teams are now doubling up to mark him out of games.
“As soon as I get the ball, he’s my go to man,” Sarcevic said. “He is the lad at the minute that he is flying and he’s the one that teams are aware of. But we have a way. I think if you see what I do or whatever, as soon as we get the ball he’s the first point of contact that we want to get the ball to him and let him go and do his stuff.
“I’ve seen his progression. If you think last year, I don’t know what his goals and assists were, but it wasn’t anything like what he’s done this year.
“He’s a good lad. He’s young, and he’s hungry and as long as he keeps doing it for us on a Saturday and a Tuesday night, I’ll be there to protect him, and I’ll be there to help him and hopefully he gets us a successful season.”
After back-to-back victories in the league, Sarcevic hopes a third at Sheffield Wednesday this weekend can propel Wanderers into the top six.
After Hillsborough, Wanderers face two of the sides already in promotion contention, Wigan Athletic and his former side, Plymouth Argyle.
“I think the league suits us a lot more than League Two did,” he said. “I think we knew that coming into this year. I said it before the season, I think we’ve played every good team up there, bar Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan, we’ve played the other teams that are going to be up there and look what we’ve done.
“We’re confident. We’re a good group of lads at the end of the day and we’re level-headed and we’re going into this year wanting to have a right good go and make sure that we do what we have to do.”
“We’re on a roll and we’re on a rhythm that we’re ticking along nicely and come Saturday afternoon, we’re going to be heads on it and we’ll want that win to stem us up for a good month to sit nicely going up to this Christmas period.”