IF Wanderers can tick the right boxes and rid themselves of a registration embargo, they have less than a fortnight to make it count.

Phil Parkinson has made his feelings known; Bolton must strengthen to give themselves a chance in the survival scrap.

The likes of Preston, Wigan, Millwall, Reading and Ipswich have already moved to bring in fresh blood, with the promise of more to come.

Wanderers seemingly face a task just to get themselves back to the same position they were in at the start of the month, let alone improving their lot.

Gary O’Neil – now a free agent – looks to be secured, albeit the midfielder is now injured.

Remi Matthews and Christian Doidge returned to their parent clubs when the embargo kicked in. Whereas Norwich City are unlikely to stand in Matthews’ way should he wish to return to the North West, negotiations with Forest Green Rovers are likely to be more awkward, given the war of words which has since developed between the two respective club owners.

Even if Wanderers get their way and bring Doidge back to the club, there is still a case to be made that Parkinson’s squad lacks another natural goal-scorer, or at least one with a proven Championship record.

In midfield, Parkinson has packed his squad with players who work hard for the cause. The chief criticism over the last few months, however, has been that his group lack genuine creativity.

Erhun Oztumer arrived last summer with a reputation as a playmaker but he has failed thus far to convince his manager he is due a regular start.

Yanic Wildschut’s injury has left Parkinson without another senior player for the foreseeable future, placing some heavy pressure on the wide positions in attack. The Dutchman had been primarily restricted to substitute appearances this season – but his blistering pace set him apart from other options in the squad, and will need to be replaced.

At the back, Parkinson has cover for all positions. If he is to sign a defender, it will be a case of attempting to upgrade.

Here’s a look at what Wanderers’ relegation rivals have been doing in the January transfer window so far.

The Bolton News:

Preston North End – Although North End have eased away from the bottom three of late, they have made some strong early signings in the window. Midfielder Brad Potts was picked up on a three-and-a-half year deal from Barnsley, and goalkeeper Connor Ripley has been brought in from Middlesbrough. A substantial £750,000 was also splashed out on Exeter City striker Jayden Stockley.

Wigan Athletic – It looks like it could be a busy fortnight at the DW Stadium as Paul Cook searches to find a left-back to replace the injured Antonee Robinson. He has already managed to add ex-Atherton Colls, Norwich City and Cardiff forward Antony Pilkington to his front line, which looks good business.

Millwall – The big arrival thus far at the Den has been Derby County defender Alex Pearce on loan. A horrendous run of injuries up front could force the Lions into the market to find a striker – and one of the players who has been linked is ex-Wanderers man Tom Eaves, now scoring goals at Gillingham.

Rotherham United – The only one of Wanderers’ relegation rivals yet to make a major signing, which is no great surprise given the Millers’ moderate spending power. Manager Paul Warne is targeting an attacking player who can play across the front three positions.

The Bolton News:

Reading – The Royals have been pretty busy since appointing new manager Jose Gomes, bringing in two players since the start of the month. Midfielder Lewis Baker cut short a loan at Leeds United to move to the Madejski from Chelsea and Liverpool’s promising England youth international Ovie Ejaria has also signed to the end of the season.

Ipswich – With plenty of catching up to do, new boss Paul Lambert has wasted no time in reshaping his squad. Experienced defender James Collins arrived on a free transfer and three loan signings have been made - Leicester City left-back Callum Elder, Hull City striker Will Keane and Huddersfield Town front man Colin Quaner. Yesterday the Tractor Boys also completed the signing of Brentford playmaker Alan Judge.