ADAM Bogdan hopes he will fare better against the Railwaymen today than he did in his first taste of senior professional football five years ago.
The date was September 29, 2009, and Bogdan, just 19, and then third-choice keeper behind Jussi Jaaskelainen and Ali Al-Habsi at Wanderers, was loaned out to Crewe Alexandra to gain some crucial experience.
His time down the road in Cheshire was to prove brief in the extreme; 48 hours in fact.
Thrust immediately into a League Cup tie with Bury, the Hungarian keeper had a torrid time in a 3-2 defeat, making one howling error to gift the second goal of the game to Shakers striker Ryan Lowe.
He returned the next morning feeling a little sheepish after Icelandic manager Gudjon Thordarson was sacked following the club’s cup exit.
“That seems like a long time ago now,” said Bogdan, who stayed patient for the next couple of years before finally usurping both Jaaskelainen and Al-Habsi to become Wanderers’ first choice keeper.
“I really tried my best. I was young and I think I tried a bit too much.
“We lost 3-2 and basically the next morning the manager was sacked and they sent me back.
“After that I was back at Bolton, so it was a bit of a short turnaround.
“These situations happen but the main thing is that you learn from it. I think I did, and now I’m here on the opposite side of things.”
Bogdan’s involvement tonight will hinge on a doctor’s opinion after he left the field with concussion and a gash above his left eye at Brighton on Saturday.
But the fact he returned stronger from the early experience was a little glimpse into the mindset that would see him emerge as one of the top rated keepers playing outside the Premier League.
Reciting the mantra so often used by his early mentor Jaaskelainen, the 26-year-old says focus is the key to shrugging off the mistakes that will inevitably come along in a goalkeeper’s career.
“I’d like to think that I don’t make mistakes but they happen with everyone and the quicker you bounce back, the better,” he said.
“I always just try to keep my concentration on what I’m doing.”
Bogdan’s focus has come under question this summer as the keeper runs into the final 12 months of his contract with Wanderers.
German Bundesliga club Mainz made a serious enquiry over the summer, while rumours of domestic interest from Fulham have also circulated in the last few months.
The Whites slapped a £2million price tag on the keeper to ward off time-wasters but after suffering a fractured vertebrae, Bogdan missed most of the serious training through the summer and also found himself benched at the start of the season for Andy Lonergan.
There has been plenty of talk about whether the Hungary international will still be at the club after the close of the transfer window but Bogdan is remaining calm amidst all the gossip.
“It doesn’t affect me,” he said. “I can’t do anything, I’m a contracted player with Bolton and I always have said I enjoy my time here.
“If the club had accepted a bid, it might have been a different story but they didn’t, so there isn’t much to talk about.”
Dougie Freedman said publically that he would like Bogdan to sign a new contract at the end of last season but then seemed to U-turn when he admitted at the start of the current campaign that discussions about new deals with all players would be put on hold for now.
Again, Bogdan is remaining pragmatic about his situation at the Macron Stadium.
“I’m not under any pressure to speak with the club,” he said. “I’ll try to do my best every week and then it’s up to everyone else what they decide to do.
“I’m only going to focus on the game. That’s the only thing I can concern myself with.”