Wanderers have “exciting” plans to improve their training base at Lostock in the future, says manager Ian Evatt.
The club has invested heavily in the 40-acre Eddie Davies Academy since it was officially opened in 2008, moving their first team to the facility in 2016 after the £2.2million sale of their previous premises at Euxton.
Though the land remains council-owned, money has gone into improving the playing surfaces and drainage over the summer and renovating several of the semi-permanent buildings which make up the club’s offices, meeting rooms, physio’s room, gym and canteen.
There remains, however, plenty of scope for improvement. Recent building work around the site has brought up issues on vehicular access and in what is still a largely residential neighbourhood, getting permission and co-operation for further works has often been problematic.
But Evatt remains convinced that there can be positive changes at Lostock which will reflect the direction in which the club is heading.
He told The Bolton News: “I think it could be an incredible facility. The space which is there is brilliant.
“It will take a huge amount of investment and definitely different configuration but I think it could be really special.
“There are lots of talks taking place as to how we move that forward, and that is really exciting.”
In January 2022, Storm Malik caused significant damage to the indoor training facility which had been erected in 2017 and paid for by the Bolton Wanderers Development Authority – an independent organisation funded by the Lifeline and Goldline Lotteries.
The BWDA ploughed in around £400,000 into the project and had previously helped to turn Euxton into a Premier League class training ground over the course of 15 years, from its previous use as the ROF Chorley Sports Ground.
The ‘Bubble’ allowed players to train indoors on a 4G playing surface and was also used by numerous age groups in the academy during its five years in operation. But the site has remained in limbo since the storm as part of a complex insurance claim.
Evatt admits the dome would have come in handy over the last couple of months but that no confirmation has yet been given on when – or if – the matter would be resolved.
“As far as I know they are still in the process and we’re not allowed to touch the area at the moment,” he said. “We know what happened and the storm wasn’t something we could control.
“We are definitely missing it because in this sort of weather it could play a big part in our training schedule, getting indoors and being able to function properly would be great.
“There are lots of conversations taking place at the minute about Lostock and how we move it forwards, which is really exciting for me. I believe it is ready for that and the board have also bought into the idea that it can be improved.
“There are lots of things that are happening behind the scenes that we can’t really share right now but we are having in-depth conversations about lots of things, and Lostock is definitely one of them.”