Will Aimson believes Wanderers will manage just fine without Antoni Sarcevic.
The abrupt departure of Bolton’s club captain to National League Stockport County continues to be a talking point among supporters eager to know exactly what triggered the move.
But in the dressing room, Aimson plans to be one of the players who help to fill the void which was left by one of the squad’s more vocal characters.
Aimson started his first league game for the Whites on Saturday at Portsmouth, following on from an encouraging 45 minutes in the 2-2 draw against Gillingham.
Though his own history with Sarcevic stretches back to their days at Plymouth, the centre-half hopes a fresh start can help address the leadership balance in the squad.
“What has happened, has happened, we can’t dwell on it,” he told The Bolton News.
“There have always been leaders in the dressing room and we can make a difference.
“I didn’t want to say too much when I was not in the side because it is easy to sit there and say things when you are not out there. I will offer my advice and experience if I think I can help one of the younger players, like Liam Gordon or someone.
“But we definitely have leaders at the club and sometimes people don’t see it because it happens behind the scenes, in the training ground, but it is time for people to step up, stick together and grind out that first win.
After Sarcevic’s exit, Ricardo Santos was handed the captain’s armband, with Eoin Doyle carrying on in his role as vice-captain.
Aimson is confident that the new set-up will bring something more out of his fellow defender and those around him.
“Sometimes you might not see it but I’m 100 per cent confident there are big voices out there,” he said. “You might not hear it – I don’t sometimes with the crowd noise sometimes – but we definitely have enough.”
Aimson’s own start as a Bolton player has been interrupted by a nagging groin injury which kept him out of action for several weeks.
After a few impressive pre-season showings, he had to wait until last month’s Papa John’s Trophy group game against Liverpool’s Under-21s to make his first start.
Defeat at Pompey tarnished his league debut for the club but Aimson was nevertheless pleased to play again in League One for the first time since last season.
“It was tough, mentally, because I was so excited to get this deal done and to play for Bolton in front of these fans is an honou,” he said of his time on the sidelines. “It has been tough watching on, seeing people train, staying in the gym, and trying my hardest to get back.
“Getting out there was brilliant, even though there are some mixed emotions, it was a big moment mentally to be able to start a game.”
Wanderers are five games without a win and have now dropped down to 14th place in the table after their weekend defeat at Fratton Park.
Aimson has played 74 games at this level for Plymouth and Blackpool, and though recent results have dipped he believes there is enough about the current squad to climb back into the top half of the table.
“I have played in this division quite a bit and you do get punished that little bit more for mistakes, there’s just that little bit more quality around,” he said.
“We need to tighten up a little bit but the type of group we are, we’ll be fine.”
Tonight’s game at Spotland gives Wanderers a chance to progress to the second round of the Papa John’s Trophy, and shake off the League One blues before the visit of National League Stockport – and Sarcevic – in the FA Cup on Sunday.
“You want the winning feeling back – it doesn’t matter what competition it is in, the Papa John’s, the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup, it is just about that winning mentality,” Aimson added.
“We have it and feel like we can win any game but maybe we need a couple of results just to remind us of it again.”