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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Development Section » Bolton to revamp youth structure to prevent players getting 'lost'

Bolton to revamp youth structure to prevent players getting 'lost'

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Bolton to revamp youth structure to prevent players getting 'lost' 13603012

Wanderers are yet to decide whether they will create an Under-23s or B team to help young players progress next season.

Ian Evatt admits some of his younger players have suffered in the last two seasons as a result of restructuring below first team level.

It was decided at the end of the 2019/20 campaign that the academy would be downgraded to category three and that the development squad – then coached by ex-Bolton player David Lee – would be dissolved.

It left Wanderers without a ‘reserve team’ for the first time in a century but efforts by Evatt to re-establish a second tier this season have been beset by problems.

Injuries at first team level have meant too many players have been drafted in from the Under-18s, while erratic scheduling and poor facilities have also been an issue.

Evatt now says the club is seriously considering its next step on whether to restore an Under-23s team, or whether to set-up a standalone squad who would play as a B Team.

Brentford took a similar move in 2016, controversially closing their youth academy, although there has been no indication that Wanderers are looking to follow suit.

Speaking about the potential plans, Evatt said: “I think some of the younger players have been rushed into playing too much first team football here.”

Ronan Darcy has spent time on loan with Norwegian club Sogndal and Scottish outfit Queen’s Park in the past 12 months and Evatt believes players like him would benefit from the restructure.

“I think he is a prime example of the Bolton babes, so to speak, and so is Adam Senior. At times this season Adam has had to come into the first team when we have been really low on numbers. He has done really well but isn’t ready to play week in, week our right now.

“The whole point of trying to re-vamp and bridge that gap between under-18s and first team is a really key decision for me and the board to make.

“We are looking at it under real scrutiny and trying to do the best we can, make the best decision.

“We haven’t decided which way that will be yet, under-23s or a B team, but it will be one or the other.

“It is no good us having these talented young men if we are not going to bridge the gap, they will just get lost in the system. We don’t want that to happen.”



El Hadji Diouf
El Hadji Diouf


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