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Thomason hopes to make the best of a bad situation at Bolton

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Thomason hopes to make the best of a bad situation at Bolton 13227966

An army of spin doctors would struggle to put a positive outlook on Wanderers’ injury woes ahead of tonight’s game – with perhaps one possible exception.

George Thomason took maximum advantage of Ian Evatt’s selection problems to stake a claim in midfield against Wycombe at the weekend, starting his first-ever game at League One level.

That Josh Sheehan has now been ruled out for the season, Andy Tutte still months away from a return and MJ Williams missing for the foreseeable with a shoulder injury means the 20-year-old is likely to get plenty more chances to shine in the run-up to Christmas.

Just 12 months ago, Thomason had not kicked a ball in league football. Released by Blackpool in his mid-teens, he had found his way back into the EFL via non-league Longridge Town and then a loan spell with Bamber Bridge that was wrecked by the pandemic.

So, while Wanderers may rue their luck at losing some of their senior stars to injury, Thomason intends to use the opportunity to take another step up the career ladder.

“The last 18 months have been a bit of a whirlwind,” he told The Bolton News. “I was out on loan in non-league football and now I am in League One.

“It probably doesn’t happen that much in football anymore. But my story is unique, it is one that I am proud of, and I want to take it all in my stride rather than looking backwards.

“Over the last couple of years the club has been in this rebuilding process, and I have seen a bit of it, for sure, coming in with Keith Hill and then progressing with the current manager. At the moment, I feel like it is heading in a positive direction.

“I have my own goals and ambitions with what I want to achieve in my career. I want to be a better version of myself.

“I think I have a really good group of friends and family around me who keep me humble, and I know I am not the finished article, especially when I look around my colleagues and the players I’m competing against.

“It is a good environment to learn and if that is not what you want to do then you can’t better yourself.”

Thomason hopes to make the best of a bad situation at Bolton 13227969

Up until Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Adams Park, Thomason’s only starts this season had been in the cup competitions.

He had rolled up his sleeves on the parks pitches and empty stands of the Central League to maintain match fitness but insists he never lost heart that a return to regular football would be possible.

“As a footballer you always want to play games and it can be frustrating at times but you have also got to understand the reasons behind it. The manager has been great, talking to me,” he said.

“I’ve always tried to get my head down to show that whenever I am called upon I am ready. Just because I wasn’t necessarily playing there and then, I wanted to be at the forefront of the manager’s mind.

“You have to keep yourself ready because you never know when your time will come in football, and thankfully mine looks like it is now.”

Doncaster Rovers have won one of their last seven in the league but did get some joy in the cups, beating Scunthorpe on two fronts to raise hopes they can soon push away from the bottom four.

Wanderers are on an identical run in the league, and though the odds have tipped against them with key personnel now missing, Thomason remains confident there will be a different outlook this time next week.

“I think that if we bring what we have got to the table, then I think we have got enough to beat Doncaster and Cheltenham,” he said.

“I know we have hit a bit of a blip but you don’t become a bad team overnight and we are certainly not one of those.

“Injuries are not ideal, especially coming into the busier parts of the season, Christmas as the like. But that is part and parcel of football. We are a tight-knit group and we will work hard for one another, so the morale is still high. I believe the luck we haven’t necessarily had recently will come back in our favour.”

Just as he knuckled down while out of Evatt’s first team plans, Thomason reckons the ‘surviving’ 14 senior players at the manager’s disposal simply have to make the best of a bad situation.

“It is all we can do right now – stick together as a team, recover, rest well, but then give it our all for three points to try and climb the table,” he said.

“We are such a tight group, as I have said, and every player in that dressing room wants success, I know that.”

So, after bouncing from the Northern Premier League to League One in 18 months, where does Thomason see himself in 12 months?

“Hopefully in the Championship with Bolton Wanderers. I firmly believe in the structure of this club – from the manager to the ownership, my team-mates. We have all got that belief.

“I know we are in a sticky patch at the moment but I firmly believe we will rise.”


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