TOM Thorpe looks likely to get the nod at Walsall tomorrow as Phil Parkinson looks to plug a midfield gap left by the suspended Jay Spearing.

The former Manchester United man, signed on loan from Rotherham on deadline day, could come in for his first start after making his debut off the bench in last weekend’s 1-1 draw against MK Dons.

Parkinson admits finding someone to fill Spearing’s boots is somewhat of a headache, with the stand-in skipper among his best performers in Wanderers’ excellent start to the season.

But the Whites boss is happy to place his faith in Thorpe, who played for him at Bradford on loan last season.

“If we call on Tom I’ve got no doubts he’ll do a good job for us,” he told The Bolton News. “He’s a player I tried to sign permanently at Bradford and one of the chief reasons we brought him in was because he can play either as a centre-half or in midfield.”

Spearing’s suspension comes after his fifth yellow card of the season, picked up for arguing the toss with referee Peter Bankes after a controversial penalty decision at the Macron last weekend.

“It’s a double punishment that we lose Jay for a week, even though the penalty was saved, thankfully,” Parkinson said.

“With Darren Pratley and Mark Davies out it does give us a little problem in the midfield department but we have got other players eager and ready to come into the team.”

Parkinson has spoken with his squad about the need to keep their discipline despite the frustrations they have encountered in the last few weeks – but will not be asking Spearing to change his natural game.

“We had a chat with the lads about that, picking up cheap yellow cards,” he said.

“Jay is a very competitive player, he is in training every day and you wouldn’t want to take that away from him.

“You want to avoid bookings for dissent but you can’t take the fire out of Jay’s belly because that’s what he brings to the table as a player.”

Parkinson also revealed that young striker Alex Samizadeh would be travelling with the squad to gain more experience after netting four goals for the development squad against QPR on Monday night.

“We are very pleased with Alex and as a reward for how well he did, he’ll be part of the squad going to Walsall.”