PHIL Parkinson believes Gary Madine is becoming a more influential figure in the Wanderers squad.

After watching Madine score in back-to-back games for only the second time in his Bolton career the Whites boss feels he can get even more from the big target man, who has been virtually ever-present this season.

Only Mark Beevers has played more minutes in the Championship for Wanderers over the first 16 games, which illustrates how he has managed to turn around a career at the Macron which once appeared to be heading nowhere.

Parkinson praised Madine for improving his attitude and diligence in training and feels the 27-year-old is now having a positive effect on those around him in the squad.

“He’s maturing on and off the pitch and I thought his performance against Norwich was great,” said the Wanderers boss. “We are continually speaking to Gary about how he can improve again and move on to the next level, because he is capable.

“We’ve seen his levels go up in training and his performances have been excellent for me this season. He’s a lad I have always got on well with and I think he is becoming a leader in the group.”

Parkinson would like to see Madne offered more protection from referees, however, after feeling his striker has not got his fair share of decisions this season.

“Gaz plays a very selfless role up there,” he said of the striker, who has been fouled 28 times this season.

“He holds the ball up, wins headers, I think he even got a foul off the referee at one point against Norwich.

“The fourth official kept saying to me ‘I thought it was a foul but the ref disagrees’ and on the game went. He has to put up with a lot of that.”

Meanwhile, Wanderers’ next opponents Preston have selection problems ahead of the game at Deepdale a week on Friday.

Jordan Hugilll is suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season in North End’s defeat against Ipswich.

Sean Maguire is also out with a hamstring injury – which left Alex Neil missing eight first team players in total at the weekend.

“An already smallish squad is being stretched right to the limit,” admitted the Scot.

“Tom Stead from the youth team travelled with us to Ipswich and the likelihood is that he will be involved again (against Bolton).”

Ex-Wanderers loan target Stephane Mavdidi - on loan from Arsenal - is likely to be drafted in from the wing to play up front for Neil’s side, currently 14th.