JOE Pritchard insists Bolton Wanderers will always be special to him despite the problems he faced during his single season at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The 23-year-old moved north from Tottenham looking to kickstart his career after a serious injury derailed his progress with Spurs.

The attacking midfielder made his Football League debut with the Whites but will line up against them today hoping to hand new club Accrington Stanley a much-needed three points.

All the positives of experiencing first-team football in the Championship were tempered by Bolton’s issues off the field, Pritchard growing up fast during his 12 months with Wanderers.

“Bolton gave me my first minutes in professional football, it was a different life for me as I had to move from Tottenham which is something I felt I needed to do at the time,” he said.

“I didn’t play a lot in the Championship last season but I got a feeling of what it’s like to be in a match, being part of the team and playing in the first team which pushed my standards.

“I also had to take responsibility for myself and try and kick start my career which had been delayed due to injury.

“I had to live on my own, cook myself which I didn’t mind and pay bills for the first time.

“That was tough as, at the time at Bolton, I wasn’t sure if I would get paid and I had to juggle my money.

“I learnt a lot at Bolton with the situation they were in, it was my first experience of professional football and it was nobody at the club’s fault. It was a definite life lesson.”

He elected for the security of a move to Stanley for the new season, and has scored once in 17 appearances in all competitions.

Now Pritchard is hoping a good display against his former employers will help him nail down a spot in John Coleman’s side.

“There was a one-year option on my Bolton contract but, with the club being in administration, it wasn’t offering contracts and I wasn’t sure what position I would be in so they released me,” he told Stanley’s website.

“I was 22, I had made one start and five appearances at Bolton and I wasn’t sure what would happen.

“I needed to be playing and Accrington were interested, I met the manager and that was that.“I still keep in touch with the lads from Bolton, I made good friends there, the likes of Connor Hall who was at Accrington last season, and Harry Brockbank who is still there.

“It was the first game I looked for on the fixture list. I am looking forward to seeing the lads and seeing the Bolton team and the transition they have made under Keith Hill.

"For me, if I am playing, I think you always have a point to prove when you are coming up against your former club. I hope I get the opportunity.”