Amadou Bakayoko is playing catch-up at Wanderers – but Ian Evatt predicts it won’t be long before he is in top shape once again.
The striker scored his first league goal since the opening day of the season with Bolton’s second against Crewe on Friday night, after replacing the injured Eoin Doyle.
With Doyle’s involvement still in question because of a calf injury for Wednesday’s FA Cup replay against Stockport County, Bakayoko may have to shoulder the weight of the Whites’ attacking burden a little while longer.
But Evatt believes the former Coventry City man is now showing signs of getting back into the sort of form he showed back in August, before successive injuries forced him on to the side-lines.
“We’ve not had him in one piece for a while,” he said. “First and foremost we’re delighted to have him. We know he’s going to improve and we know he’s going to improve with game time and match sharpness.
“If you ask him, he is still not where he wants to be, and where he was earlier on in the season, but he’s suffered two injuries and we’re having to rebuild him again.
“His work ethic is first class. His fitness levels, considering how much he’s missed is very good and I’m delighted to get the goal.”
Another boost to Bolton’s attacking ranks has been the return to fitness of Xavier Amaechi, the on-loan Hamburg winger who had been out since July with a fractured metatarsal.
His comeback is ahead of schedule, and Evatt has already seen enough to suggest he can be a major player in the coming weeks.
“It is important to keep yourself level headed and focused and it would have been easy for Xav to feel sorry for himself and throw the toys out of the pram when he got injured,” he said. “But his focus and his attitude to rehab has been first class.
“He is fit, he has looked razor sharp in training considering he’s missed three or four months and only joined in a week and I’m delighted to have him back on the pitch for myself and the team because I know what he can.”