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Seven players who could get their chance to shine against Salford

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

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Wanderers look set to make changes for their opening EFL Trophy group game, offering chances to some of the players who did not start the weekend’s win against Derby County.

With an international break coming up, we looked at the options who could give Ian Evatt something to think about over the next week if they impress against Salford City.

Bolton used the groups and early knockout stages well last season and with a slim squad this time around they will need to take maximum advantage once again to keep every player firing.

Here are seven stars who should be looking to make the most of their chance.


Some 234 days since his last start for Wanderers, the Icelander is likely to get a chance against Salford to start rebuilding a career which is in danger of losing its way a little.

Injuries have not been kind to Bodvarsson and after a long lay-off with his ankle, those frustrating muscular issues on his return have prevented him playing a bigger part in the Whites’ decent start to the League One campaign.

The striker has had just 14 minutes on the pitch in the league – and that a fruitless cameo with his side already 3-0 down against Wigan – but there will be no shortage of well-wishers tonight as he aims to build on an encouraging scoring record in this competition.

Nobody used the Papa Johns Trophy, as was, better than Bodvarsson last season, and while he was struck down at the start of the year his appearances through the group and knockout stages were high quality and got him back to the front of the queue.


Looked in good touch in the first half against Middlesbrough last week and still the player who looks most capable of making something out of nothing, be it a defence-splitting pass or a free kick arrowed into the top corner.

Consistency is the hurdle he must conquer now and building some confidence in the EFL Trophy can surely do no harm. Salford will press, and have some of the best stats in League Two on that front, so can Morley use that football intelligence to pick them apart?


Of all Ian Evatt’s summer signings, Nlundulu is the one who has yet to have his moment.

The former Southampton man has started just twice since making his move permanent, playing 150 minutes in the league. There has been big pressure on him when replacing the in-form Dion Charles or Victor Adeboyejo to finish the game and thus far he has not managed to make his mark.

The spotlight won’t be as fierce tonight and it could be enough for him to relax and play his natural game which, towards the end of last season, looked worth watching.


You had to feel for Jerome on Saturday, coming on against 10-man Derby as a striker but spending the vast majority of his time making important clearances under a bombardment of long throws and free kicks. Yet in the record books, it went down as another blank.

His importance to the group dynamic is undeniable and the younger players in particular cite his input and advance on a regular basis. But Jerome has been around long enough to know that, like Nlundulu, he needs to sparkle in the moments he gets.


His summer move to Bolton represented a hard reset on a career which had taken off in stratospheric fashion with FA Cup highlights at Rochdale and a £1million move to Premier League Wolves. That route did not work out, and so you have to take your cap off to Matheson for recognising that he needed to take a couple of backwards steps to get things on track again.

He has impressed in the B Team and will almost certainly be among the small group brought into tonight’s squad by Evatt to boost numbers. Given Matheson’s first team experience, it would not be a huge surprise if he gets some time on the pitch too.

Wanderers have not yet had a regular starter emerge from the B Team but Matheson has the raw ingredients to eventually tick that box.


Did not look especially comfortable playing on the right after coming on against Derby County but impressed in a second striker role against Middlesbrough. Mendes Gomes is one of a few flexible options in Evatt’s squad who remain somewhat of a mystery with the new season just six games old.

His work alongside Dion Charles in the Carabao Cup was the most encouraging to date, yet the balance of available players makes a midfield spot more likely if he plays against Salford.

We have already seen some good signs but is this the night where Mendes Gomes really catches fire?


Another player who has remained somewhat enigmatic in his appearances to date. Clearly capable in possession, he has also tended to drift in and out of games too.

He revelled on home turf in the first half against Fleetwood and it would be wonderful to see him take hold of the midfield in a similar fashion against Salford.

A talented lad, of that there is no doubt, but can he do it on a Tuesday night in the EFL Trophy group stages?

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