DAVID Wheater is making a late dash to be involved in season opener against Watford.

The big defender has recovered from a small tear in his calf that had hampered his progress in training since returning for pre-season.

And it is hoped he will be quickly brought up to speed so he will be in with a shout of starting the game at Vicarage Road.

Wheater finished last season strongly after ridding himself of a long-standing knee problem but suffered a minor setback just before the club’s Scandinavian tour and has been forced to sit out all six friendlies so far.

That is also likely to be the case at Port Vale tonight but there are hopes within the camp that the former Middlesbrough centre-half can be in the right shape to challenge Matt Mills, Tim Ream and Dorian Dervite for a place against the Hornets on August 9.

Wheater made 23 appearances last season despite missing nearly five months of football as he dealt with a growth on his knee which had developed as a result of a previous operation to fix his cruciate ligament.

Meanwhile, Wanderers have invited former Bristol City defender Liam Fontaine to train with them as he searches for a new club.

Fontaine is a free agent after leaving Ashton Gate but it is not thought at this stage that Dougie Freedman is looking to sign the 28-year-old on a permanent basis.

The Whites boss is concentrating his efforts on trying to land one of three attacking options he still feels is necessary to add to his squad, although Crystal Palace striker Glen Murray is not a target, the club has confirmed.

Murray – signed on a free transfer by Freedman at Selhurst Park – scored 31 goals for the Eagles as they won promotion to the Premier League the season before last.

The striker’s wife Stacey also issued a rather prompt denial on Monday night, tweeting: “Bolton? Where do people pluck these rumours from?”