FORMER Wanderers striker Tony Philliskirk believes Wanderers’ choice to step down to a category three academy is not all bad news.

The club confirmed in March it had taken the option to cut the Under-23s team but assured young players that the amount of coaching time available would not be affected.

Details of the restructure and what it might mean for academy staff remain unclear – but Philliskirk, who works as the Under-18s coach at Premier League Burnley, believes there are advantages to moving down a grade.

“The biggest one, I think, is that the travelling costs will be significantly reduced,” he told The Bolton News. “All the games will be within a relatively short distance and so you won’t have a squad of players and coaches staying overnight at the London clubs, for example.

“You’ll also probably be able to run with fewer numbers because the volume of games the players will be expected to play should also be lower.

“I understand people might look at it and think it’s a backward step but managed the right way it doesn’t have to be the end of the world for anyone.”

Wanderers were preparing a big overhaul of the academy before the lockdown but the club said it would be “mitigating as many losses as possible” during the consultation process with staff.

The Bolton News revealed that a handful of scholars have been told they can leave this summer – and one, defender Myles Edmondson, is understood to be looking at options in the US.

Both the Under-23s and 18s were hit hard last season when players were pushed through to supplement the senior ranks, leaving many youngsters playing well out of their age group.

Philliskirk hopes the summer will see some order brought to his former club after a difficult 12 months.

“I know the lads there well, and they have worked really hard to try and keep things together in difficult circumstances,” he said. “What has been allowed to go on there over the last few years is shocking but they have kept producing players and I think they deserve a lot of credit for that.”