WANDERERS’ missing man could be in-line for a shock recall against Middlesbrough tonight.

The whereabouts of Erhun Oztumer has been a question posed by Bolton supporters for the majority of this season as the summer signing struggled to carve a niche for himself under Phil Parkinson.

Since scoring on his debut against Leeds United in the Carabao Cup in August the playmaker has started just eight league games in the Championship but a surprise cameo off the bench in the second half of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Ipswich Town might just be enough to convince his manager to take a second look.

Parkinson is considering changes to a team which lacked energy and imagination in the main against the Tractor Boys and admits Oztumer’s recent performances at Lostock have nudged him ahead of the likes of Joe Pritchard and Josh Vela recently.

“Ozzie has done better in training recently, in fairness to him,” the manager said. “Him and Pritchard have been competing for the subs’ bench role because both are similar players. Ozzie got the nod on this occasion.

“It’s now down to us to pick the right team for Boro, possibly put a bit of freshness in there, look at the players who came on who did well and had an impact on the game.

“When you have just been beaten there are obviously places up for grabs and we have got to think long and hard about our team selection.”

Wanderers dropped eight points off the teams above the relegation zone after Saturday’s defeat, meaning relegation could be confirmed as early as Saturday at Derby County if results elsewhere continue to go against them.

Parkinson says his players will not “throw in the towel” and accept the drop despite facing two of the division’s traditional big guns over the next five days.

“We have to improve on that (Ipswich defeat) and that’s what we’ll be looking to do,” he said. “Nobody is giving up and after beating QPR everyone was looking at the table and thinking there was still a chance.

“We have made it more difficult and there’s obviously a lot of disappointment about the performance but we have got a good opportunity to get back out there tomorrow and improve on the display at the weekend. First half was disappointing in terms of the two goals were soft ones, second half I thought we responded reasonably well and played a lot better.”