JOSH Vela wants to prove to Wanderers he is worth all the hype by leading Notts County out of relegation danger.
The injury-plagued Academy graduate looked to be losing his way at the Reebok this season but has made a 100 per cent start for Shaun Derry’s League One strugglers, helping them off the foot of the table with three victories in three starts.
Vela has already indicated that he would like a longer stay at Meadow Lane – if only to show Dougie Freedman he is serious about first-team football in the Championship next season.
The 20-year-old wants to put the knee problems that have dogged his promising career behind him and return to the Wites a stronger player.
“I want to show that I’m ready to play for them and I’m better than what they have got,” he said.
“They must see something in me, hopefully anyway, so after this I need to make sure they see what I can do on the big stage.
“It’s a massive step for me because I’ve got nine games to get some experience and if that doesn’t mean first team football at Bolton, it might mean another loan for a full season.”
It is close to two years since Vela burst on to the first team scene in the Premier League but a succession of injury and fitness problems have stalled his progress.
“I’ve played Premier League, which was a great experience, but it was a couple of years ago now,” Vela said. “It’s been in and out of squads and the bench but it’s made me more determined to come here (Notts County) and play first team football.
“I had to have another operation on my knee because it was swelling up all the time but that’s sorted now and I’m ready to push on.
“It’s been frustrating sat in the stands watching every week when really I should have been playing on a Saturday afternoon.”
Vela believes there have been offers to take him on loan in the last 12 months which have been turned down by the club as they continued to cast a watchful eye over his fitness.
But the Salford-born midfielder did not think twice when offered the chance to go to Nottingham and help lift the Magpies out of the relegation zone.
“I think there have been other opportunities but they’ve been kept quiet at Bolton – maybe I wasn’t fit enough, maybe they wanted me to stay, I don’t know,” he said.
“I’ve played in a relegation battle before with Bolton. I thrived off that pressure and the fans, because they were really good for me because I was a young local lad coming through.
“I’m in good shape, I’d been doing well in the reserves at Bolton and now I want to step up and help Notts County stay up.”