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Why there are 'tough conversations ahead' as Wanderers aim to keep evolving

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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Wanderers have several players out of contract at the end of the season and Ian Evatt admits there are some “tough conversations ahead”.

Alex Baptiste, Liam Gordon, Adam Senior, Andrew Tutte, Nathan Delfouneso, Liam Edwards and Reiss Greenidge’s deals are all set to expire this summer.

Evatt says the Whites need to be “constantly evolving” as a club - and that means some changes are to be expected.

However, the Bolton boss is pleased to have most of his squad tied down for at least a further 12 months and insists they are in “a good place” heading into the summer.

“We are going to have end of season player reviews for every player on the Monday following the last game of the season,” he told The Bolton News.

“Everyone will then be told as to where they are at - whether you are in contract or out of contract.

“As I’ve said before, just because you are under contract it doesn't necessarily protect you and mean you are here indefinitely.

“There are going to be changes. Getting to the next level and how we improve as a club is constantly evolving, and that means at football clubs there is a revolving door sometimes. There are tough conversations ahead, no doubt, but that is part of the game.

“One thing that we try and do is make sure and my pledge as a manager and as a coach is to try and improve everybody that we manage and coach and we teach them new things and I think we do that.

“Whoever leaves, we will shake their hands, wish them really well and thank them for their service, but onwards and upwards.

“The majority of the squad are tied down, which is a good place to be for continuity.”

Loan players James Trafford and Xavier Amaechi are also scheduled to return to their parent clubs, Manchester City and Hamburg respectively, at the end of the season.

But which players are likely to get new deals at the UniBol?

Baptiste - Has made 17 appearances this season, including four outings in the Papa John’s Trophy.

The Whites may want to keep him around for his experience and impact on the squad, having played in the Premier League alongside Evatt at Blackpool.

Gordon - Has played 21 times this season, most recently coming off the bench in the 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

He delivered some promising performances and even slotted in at right-back during the Whites’ injury crisis earlier in the season.

However, opportunities have been hard to come by over the past few months due to Declan John’s strong form since switching to a wing-back role.

Delfouneso - Scored against Port Vale and Liverpool Under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy but failed to make an impact in the league during the first half of the season.

Was loaned out to League Two side Bradford on deadline day and has made six appearances for the Yorkshire club so far.

Wanderers now have a plethora of attacking options following the arrivals of Dion Charles, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Kieran Sadlier, and it is hard to see where Delfouneso fits.

Tutte - Made 20 appearances last season as the Whites won promotion from League Two, but has spent most of this term on the sidelines after suffering a torn hamstring in a reserves match against Accrington back in September.

Evatt has a number of options to choose from in the middle of the pitch when everyone is fit following the arrivals of Aaron Morley and Kyle Dempsey, while Josh Sheehan is also on his way back from injury.

Senior – A popular figure among supporters but has made just two appearances in the league this season as he continues his development.

Evatt has hinted the young defender will be one of the players who will benefit most from the Whites’ new ‘B’ team.

Edwards - Made his long-awaited return from injury as a late substitute in a 3-0 win against Rochdale back in November.

Joined non-league side Southport on loan as he builds his match fitness back up after spending nearly two years on the sidelines.

Greenidge - Has spent the season on loan at Barnet, making 24 appearances in the National League and scoring two goals.

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Keep the young lads and let Baptste, Tutte, Delfouneso and Greenidge go.

I wouldn't bother trying to get Amaechi back next season either. I would be sorry to see Gordon go as we have been linked with the lad from Cambridge but we don't need 3 left backs.

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