RONAN Darcy believes Wanderers can go into the League Two unknown next season excited about the future.

The midfielder, who signed a new two-year deal at the UniBol this week, is relishing the prospect of being a key figure in the Whites’ revival effort.

Bolton have not played fourth-tier football since 1988 and have done so only once in their entire history, but the youngster feels strongly that the club will not be moping around after relegation.

“It is a good time to rebuild as a team,” he said. “The only way is up now.

“It might not look good because we have gone down but if we look at this positively with new lads, new team, new direction, you can only look forward to it.

“I just want to play games and I feel like next season I will be.”

On a personal level, Darcy has used the last 12 months to firmly establish his own first team credentials.

From a brief debut at Nottingham Forest in the Championship in 2018/19 he went on to become a regular last season, making 22 appearances.

And a big part of committing his future to Bolton was the prospect of playing regularly, admitted the Ormiskirk-born 19-year-old.

“I feel like it has been my best season, a breakthrough season,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been able to show the fans what I can do and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

“I can’t wait to do it again next year and show them what I am made of, keep improving.

“I just want to be playing as many games as I can. And I hope next season I can start that off by playing week-in, week-out.”

Darcy’s contract had been put in limbo while the club went into hibernation during the pandemic but news that it had finally been sorted has provided a well-timed boost for fans as they wait for competitive football to return.

Along with the manager search, another big decision facing the club is that of the retained list. And Darcy is quick to credit the influence first teamers like Jason Lowe and Luke Murphy had on his progress this season.

“The lads have been brilliant since the start of the season, I’ve learned a lot from the likes of Lowey, Luke Murphy, I have been with them for a while now.

“It was difficult at the start of the season when it was just the young lads but I think being able to stay in the team when the senior lads came in was better because the pace just went from ‘there’ to ‘there’ and I managed to stick to it. I just tried to keep going as best as I could.”

One of the most difficult parts for the teenager in recent weeks has been staying quiet on social media as fans peppered him with questions about the contract.

Darcy has been with the club since the age of eight and he hopes to be able to reward the supporters who have backed his journey to senior football.

“I have been here God knows how many years now and I have loved every minute of it,” he said.

“Now that I have broken through and I’m in the team I want to stay there as long as possible, play as many games as I can and keep improving.

“Hopefully the fans can enjoy me and like what I am doing.

“I have had a few messages and I haven’t been able to give them the answer they wanted but now I can. I am over the moon to say I have signed a new deal and I am looking forward to seeing you all soon.”