TIM Ream wants to keep his World Cup dream alive by finishing the season strongly with Wanderers.
Dougie Freedman’s side head to Huddersfield Town tomorrow for what, on paper, looks to be a Championship dead rubber.
While not mathematically safe from the drop, both clubs hold a significant enough points advantage over the bottom three to start looking ahead to next season.
For Ream, however, a strong end to the campaign is a must if he is to convince US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann to name him as part of his 23-man squad for this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
“There is always someone watching,” he told The Bolton News. “And there’s always time – right up until that squad is announced.
“Whether it’s a cliché or not, it’s every young kid’s dream to play in a World Cup finals.
“Most probably want to be there and score but to be honest I don’t score many goals, so just to be there would be enough.
“Something like that would definitely be a dream come true. It’s something that had been a little bit at the back of my mind but I’ve tried not to think about it too much so I can focus on Bolton – but it’s clearly there on the horizon.”
The defender was last called up for a friendly against Ukraine in March and his form for Wanderers has been one of the real highlights of a dismal season.
And Ream may have done himself a favour by spending most of his time playing out of his favoured central defensive position, at left-back.
“I was joking about that the other day – maybe I’ve given myself the best opportunity to be in a squad because I can play two positions, at a pinch three as a holding midfielder,” he said.
“You never know what might happen but unless I do well with my club, I’m not giving myself the best chance.”
A team of primarily US-based players was selected for the most recent friendly against Mexico in midweek, although Ream admits he is more focused on being part of the group that meets for a World Cup warm-up match against Azerbaijan in San Fransisco on May 27.
And if he made the plane to Brazil, Ream doubts whether his trademark white mask – worn since January to protect a broken nose sustained playing against QPR – would be part of his baggage.
“It’s a fashion statement now – I’m wearing it to Tesco,” he joked.
“It’ll probably last until the end of the season, I don’t want to take a chance of getting a knock and having to get surgery.
“I’d love to not wear it but it’s the lesser of two evils.
“I probably wouldn’t wear it at the World Cup if I made it. But I do train with it.
“I wish I had a cupboard full of them because I’d rotate them – I may have to invest in a black one or a clear one. See what the designers can do for me.”