WANDERERS legend John McGinlay has just one birthday wish as he reaches his half century – and that’s to see his beloved Whites mark the day with victory at Doncaster tonight.
McGinlay turns 50 today, adding another landmark figure to his collection.
But the fans’ favourite, who netted the last goal at Burnden Park, will be focused on the fortunes of the current incumbents of the white shirt at the Keepmoat Stadium now he is back as one of the club’s biggest fans after leaving his scouting post at Wigan Athletic last month.
And as a fellow frontman, one man he has enjoyed watching of late is loan star Lukas Jutkiewicz who is again likely to lead the attack in Yorkshire tonight.
McGinlay told The Bolton News: “I have been nothing but impressed with Lukas Jutkiewicz – he has been outstanding since joining us.
“He is a proper target man and someone for others to play off.
“I don’t think we have had anyone like him since Kevin Davies in his prime – he has been that good. He works hard and can score goals as well as we have seen.
“I expect Middlesbrough fans are confused because of how well he has done at Bolton compared to up there but sometimes players just find a home where they feel right and fit a certain place – a bit like I did here.
“When you look at him, he looks happy out there and in his surroundings.
“He settled in so quickly and in the current formation, he is perfect for that role.
“When I look at Jermaine (Beckford), he looks more comfortable playing off someone like Jutkiewicz rather than operating as a lone frontman.
“I think we will see them play together soon and that will be interesting to see.”
Like his fellow former Whites star Simon Charlton, McGinlay believes Jutkiewicz would be a great permanent signing for the club.
And he hopes manager Dougie Freedman can secure his services this summer.
McGinlay added: “Lukas is certainly a player I would like to see out there in a white shirt next season.
“Hopefully, he will come in the summer.
“It’s going to be an interesting close season – I think there will be a lot of players leaving, mainly to free up wages for new signings.
“The market Bolton are going to be dealing in now, they will need to act quickly I think and I’m sure they are already looking at it now we are safe in the Championship.”
Whatever happens, McGinlay, who netted 118 goals in 245 games for Wanderers, will continue to watch as a fan while he waits for an opportunity to get back into the game, albeit after marking his 50th birthday with a golf trip with his sons.
Following Owen Coyle’s exit from Wigan, McGinlay has now followed his ex-teammate out of the DW Stadium.
He said: “I enjoyed my time there and the job.
“You understand in football when a new manager takes over, he likes his own men in place.
“I stayed on there because I was involved in some of the transfer dealings in January.
“I left three weeks ago but I would like to get back in somewhere in a similar capacity.
“I have built up a good network of contacts and am more ready than ever to get started again.
“In the meantime, I have enjoyed being able to go and watch my team and support them as a fan.
“It has been a stop-start season really, they get a few results and you think it’s about to take off and then there’s a slip.
“Thankfully, we are safe now and can start looking to next season.
“But these last few games are still important because there are players playing for their futures at the club so there is plenty to play for.”