FORMER Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela says Wanderers is “close to my heart” ahead of Saturday’s clash with Shrewsbury.

Vela joined the Whites’ youth ranks at the age of nine and went on to make 182 senior appearances for the club.

He left the UniBol in the summer of 2019 and had a spell in Scotland with Hibernian before heading to Shropshire.

Vela is looking forward to going up against his former club at the weekend but insists it is business as usual.

“I was there for 17 years. I loved my time at Bolton,” he told the club’s website.

“I came through the academy, built a good relationship with the fans and I still look out for their results but obviously this weekend I’ll be hoping to take the three points off them.

“It’s a club close to my heart, I’ve played a lot of games for them and I’m glad to see they’re doing well but on Saturday I hope they don’t do too well.”

Salop sit 16th in the League One table – just a point above Wanderers, despite having played an extra game.

Vela added: “We’re close in the table but we’ll just be looking to get the three points.

“It’s been tough over the Christmas period but we’ve had a free week this week, a good week to prepare.

“We’ve been doing tactical work for the game against Bolton we’ll hopefully get the three points on Saturday.

“They’ve come up from League Two and that’s always difficult, but they had a good start. They’re a good passing side.

“Yeah, they’ve had a tough run, but that’s always going to happen when you come up from League Two and obviously, they got that good win at the weekend against that Ipswich side so it’s going to be a tough game.

“But we’re in a good run of form ourselves, so we’ll be going into that game with nothing but confidence.”

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