ERHUN Oztumer is on a mission to entertain at Wanderers.

If his encouraging debut against Leeds United is anything to go by, fans might want to keep their eye on the diminutive playmaker, signed on a free transfer from Walsall this summer.

Oztumer earned a reputation as League One’s showstopper and was twice voted into the team of the year during his spell in the Midlands. But now the 27-year-old wants to strike up the same relationship with Bolton’s supporters as he did with the Saddlers by adding a touch of wizardry to the Wanderers midfield.

“Playing down at Walsall, the fans were always great with me,” he told The Bolton News. “Hopefully they see hard work, dedication, and the fact I want to entertain them.

“I love to show my abilities off. I’ve had a lot of doubters – my size, this and that, but I want to show them I can enjoy playing football.

“I like to score goals, do tricks. I grew up playing on the streets and I haven’t really stopped playing like that. Hopefully I can do that through this season with Bolton.”

Plenty will be watching with interest as to whether Oztumer can pass the Championship test.

Just four years ago he was playing non-league football for Dulwich Hamlet in the Isthmian League, and the trajectory since then has been steep.

“My dream was just to become a professional footballer but now I’m scoring a goal on my debut at Elland Road; it’s quite surreal,” he said. “I have worked hard and when you do that you get rewards.

“There’s obviously a big difference from where I have come from but I feel like training and playing with better players gets the best out of me.

“You are playing against better players as well, so it will balance out. But I have always believed in my ability. I feel like I have got enough to play in the Championship. I want to prove it.

“If I listen to the staff here at Bolton and the more experienced players I feel like I can keep improving, and see where that goes.”

Oztumer suffered an unfortunate hip injury in the summer, which hampered his preparations for the start of the season and limited him to only a few fleeting appearances in friendlies.

After a positive debut and a well-taken goal, however, he hopes to have done enough to put his name into Phil Parkinson’s thoughts as he picks a team to face Reading tomorrow.

“I have been lacking fitness, so I haven’t been involved lately but I’m back in good shape now and hopefully I’m in the gaffer’s mind,” he said.

“The whole pre-season you’re focussing on getting fit, so when you miss two weeks it makes a big difference. You are behind, have to do extras, you can’t push too hard and get another injury. It was really frustrating.

“But I am here now. I am 100 per cent fit. I just can’t wait to get going.”

Wanderers’ start to the league campaign has been pleasantly surprising too.

It took until mid-October to chalk up four points last season, after which the team was lodged permanently in a battle against relegation. Oztumer hopes the good vibes can continue at the Madejski Stadium – a ground at which Bolton have not won in a decade.

“It has been a great start – four points from two games – and probably if you’d asked people before the start of the season they wouldn’t have predicted that,” he said. “We are happy, playing well, and want it to continue.

“The gaffer has brought in players he wanted and there’s real competition. Everyone is fighting to get in the team and it’s a good thing. At the training ground people are putting in 100 per cent and hoping they start on match-day.

“I think we played well at Leeds in the cup, even though we didn’t get the result. We got what we wanted out of the game.

“For me, I enjoyed the game, getting 90 minutes in front of a big crowd and getting a Bolton shirt on. The whole experience was great, result aside, so hopefully we can get a different one on Saturday.”

Oztumer is keen to dazzle the crowd with his football skills but admits his squad initiation showed they do not extend to the microphone.

“I had to sing a song,” he said. “I was terrible. They booed me off!”