DOUGIE Freedman believes he can turn new signing Max Clayton into the goalscorer Wanderers fans have been waiting for.

The Whites boss ended a summer-long battle to sign the former Crewe striker this week and could name him on the bench at Wolves this afternoon.

While the Scot is reluctant to put too much pressure on the 20-year-old right away, he is confident the England youth international has the raw talent to become a success at the Macron Stadium.

Clayton arrives at the club with a less-than-prolific record of 16 goals in 92 appearances in the lower leagues but Freedman thinks he can get much more out of the diminutive striker.

“As we speak he’s a footballer who scores goals,” he told The Bolton News. “There are aspects of his game in the six-yard box he’s got to work on, and then eventually I’m going to turn him into a goalscorer who plays football.

“At the age he’s at, there’s no point telling he’ll be this or that. It misses the point.

“His enthusiasm will get him through at the moment and he’s an intelligent player who can score a goal.

“He’s not quite fit enough to play 90 minutes or start a game but the boy tells me he’s ready.

“He’s got a great energy that you want to keep around you, so he’s certainly someone who won’t be too far away from the team.”

Wanderers have not seen a striker score more than a dozen goals since Michael Ricketts in 2002, and have not seen anyone reach the 20-mark since the same player scored 24 a year earlier.

Clayton was being scouted by the Premier League’s elite before sustaining a broken ankle in an FA Cup tie against Wycombe Wanderers in November 2013.

Contractual squabbles with Crewe then threatened to send the young striker into the footballing wilderness, with a move to Denmark seriously considered to avoid the huge compensation fee his club had put on his head.

But Freedman feels Clayton has matured as a result of a difficult year in the game.

“That injury was difficult for a young boy but it seems to have made him mentally stronger,” he said.

“It’s the same with the situation he found himself in over the summer; he maybe didn’t know where his future lay.

“He hasn’t played professional football in a long time but I did see him in a reserve game at QPR at the end of last season, which I think was the last one he played, but he’s fine injury-wise.

“In my own experience, you tend to focus on the here and now.

“To break a leg is obviously disappointing but he’s got that determination about him, he’s a strong character. He’s only been in a few days and he’s telling me he’s ready.

“I just think it’s a wonderful buy for the football club. Hand on heart, I don’t know whether he’ll help us right now – but as time goes by you’ll see a very gifted young player.

“It’s an absolute no-brainer for the price we paid.”