WANDERERS could give Joey O’Brien a route back into football ahead of former Brazil international Julio Baptista.

The Irishman has been training at Lostock for a few weeks and has made a good impression on Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson.

O’Brien was released last year by West Ham and recruited the help of Whites’ head of sports science Nick Allamby to get back to full fitness.

All eyes have been on ex-Arsenal and Real Madrid star Baptista, who has also been looking to earn a deal. But it is understood Dubliner O’Brien - who started his professional career with Bolton - is currently more likely to get a contract.

The 31-year-old, who can play in midfielder or at right-back, graduated from the Wanderers academy in 2002 and went on to play 70 times for the club, overcoming two serious knee injuries before resuming his career with the Hammers.

O’Brien made a further 100 appearances at Upton Park and helped West Ham to promotion in 2012 under Sam Allardyce.

Parkinson confirmed there is no imminent deal to sign Baptista despite a flurry of stories circling around the club this week.

“He has done a bit of training with our Under-23s, which has been great for them,,” he told The Bolton News. “He came in to show he’s fit but there’s nothing more than that at this stage.

“He just wants to train and I don’t think that is a bad thing for us, especially the strikers. There is no harm in it.”

Wanderers are unable to offer any contracts at present under the terms of their embargo - a factor underlined by Parkinson at his press conference for the Middlesbrough game.

“First of all we can’t sign anyone - let’s get that completely straight,” he said. “We are absolutely up to the limit on numbers.

“Second thing is that if we were to sign him, I’d want to assess him over a lot longer period than a few days. He hasn’t played for a long time.

“Over the course of a a season lots of players come in and out of the building but because he’s a big name it has attracted more interest.

“Anything that happens in a football clubs ends up on Twitter these days, you have to accept that I suppose.”

Wanderers will check on the fitness of Josh Cullen today after international duty for Ireland in Azerbaijan.