SAMMY Ameobi is closing in on his first start for Wanderers.

The on-loan Newcastle United star has been limited to substitute appearances since his deadline day switch from Tyneside but could now be unleashed at Walsall tomorrow.

Phil Parkinson has been delighted with the 24-year-old’s input over the last fortnight and has tipped him to become a game-changer for the Whites in the coming months.

“He’s had two weeks with us now, he’s trained well, he’s made a good impact off the bench and his attitude has been excellent in training,” he told The Bolton News. “We needed a player like Sammy who can produce moments to change games. In fairness to him, the game time he has had so far on the pitch he’s got very close to producing them.

“He’s very, very close to a start and we will be making a decision on that closer to the weekend. If not this week, then he’s getting fitter all the time.”

Wanderers worked hard to land Ameobi has the best possible loan option after a chase for Peterborough United’s Jon Taylor ended up with the winger joining Rotherham United for £500,000.

“Even though he’s big and tall, he doesn’t play like a target man,” Parkinson said. “He can play the number 10 role because he’s got a good touch when the ball comes in to him, he can play wide right, wide left, he can play through the middle.

“He is not the big target, he’s a technical type. He has got immense ability and we brought him in because he was the best one out there.

“I have enjoyed working with him so far, he’s been a breath of fresh air, and he’s been patient because a lot of the other players we’ve signed have started games.”