YOU’VE got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, as Kenny Rogers once sang.

An intimate poker game has developed between Wanderers, Sunderland and Bradford City over striker Charlie Wyke - and reports suggest Wigan Athletic are also hoping to join the table.

For weeks we have watched two conflicting styles: Sunderland’s brashly public approach leading to a string of apparently rejected bids, while Wanderers infinitely more reserved tactics giving rise to speculation over the seriousness of their interest.

It has been a while since Bolton played with such high stakes. And should they emerge successful in their efforts to land Wyke it would be a considerable victory for club owner and chairman, Ken Anderson, above anyone else.

Not only would it banish the unsightly statistic that a Bolton team has not paid a transfer fee in three and a half years – a period of which was before Anderson’s arrival, it must be said – but it would also make a bold statement about his own ability to adequately fund and evolve the club at this level of football.

Wyke is a rare commodity. A brave number nine with a good scoring record, entering into the last year of his contract, seemingly keen on testing himself away from Valley Parade. It is little wonder Bolton have company as they try to secure his services.

Bolton have traditionally valued such a player. Think back to the great strikers who have worn the shirt – and a common trait of each is that they would stick their head in where others fear to put their boot. Phil Parkinson believes the 25-year-old is cut from that same cloth.

There are other similar options in the market. Championship clubs have gathered around the likes of Ellis Harrison, of Bristol Rovers, and Tom Bradshaw, of Barnsley, or even Josh Magennis at Charlton. Yet none boast the same eye for goal as Wyke, who has scored 41 times in the last two seasons at Bradford and Carlisle.

Other names are also available on loan at Premier League level and fall within Wanderers’ reach. Yet as Parkinson has voiced in public, he relishes the opportunity of turning another powerful striker into a multi-million pound asset, just as he did with Gary Madine.

Loaning a player capable of leading the line in the Championship is likely to cost exactly the same sort of fee as that currently being bandied around for Wyke. And while wages must also come into the equation along with the fee, there is zero sell-on value for a player who returns to his parent club at the end of the season.

Last season’s remarkable survival act has established some firmer financial footings and have enabled the club to sign players at a higher bracket than they did last summer. The steady evolution has been well received.

Yes, there was ‘that dispute’ at the start of pre-season but for the sake of all those involved, let us all move on and look ahead, lessons learned.

What a shot in the arm it would be for Parkinson if he could go into the Championship season with his number one target secured - even if that player is currently recovering from a knee problem.

Wyke’s injury does complicate matters but does not end Bolton’s desire to sign him. Parkinson is looking at the longer game and it would be just reward for his efforts in the past two seasons if he could bank on a hand-picked player to spearhead his attack, eventually.

And yet there does have to be an air of realism in this striker chase. As Rogers also sang: “You’ve got to know when to walk away, and know when to run”.

Figures coming out of Wearside have been steadily climbing for weeks but with the player out of commission it seems unlikely Bradford will get the cool £1million they requested at the start of the summer. Things may change if Wigan decide to buy in but Anderson does not seem the type to be drawn into a bidding war.

It makes for fascinating viewing, particularly for Wanderers fans who have become more inclined to scanning the free agent market than those players in demand over recent years.

Will they be celebrating when the dealing is done? Time will tell if the gamble is worth it.