EOIN Doyle didn’t need the grand tour at Bolton Wanderers… He had seen it all before!

The Irish striker was already familiar with the stadium, hotel and training ground, having been shown around the facilities a few years ago when Phil Parkinson was in charge.

Now officially signed up to a three-year deal with Wanderers, Doyle explained how he had been driving to sign for the club when a chance phone call from another future employer had changed his mind.

“It was pretty close in the end,” he told The Bolton News. “Phil Parkinson wanted to sign me and was telling me he would play me alongside Gary Madine.

“As I was driving over to Bolton I got a call from Stuart McCall from Bradford and I told him where I was heading. He told me that they were signing Adam Le Fondre.

“We’re similar sorts of players – fox-in-the-box types – so I rang Alfie and he said the paperwork was going through.

“I felt at this stage of my career I needed to play every week. I didn’t want it to be one or the other.

“I don’t blame the manager, though. If I was in his situation I’d have said anything I could to get a deal over the line.”

Doyle ended up signing for Bradford in 2018 but his spell at Valley Parade was not a happy one and ended in relegation to League Two.

Despite starting last season in a Bantams shirt, Doyle made a loan move to Swindon in August, transforming his fortunes in front of goal. An incredible haul of 25 goals in 28 games made him the division’s top scorer and helped Richie Wellens’ men to top spot before the lockdown.

The striker admits Swindon’s style of play was a big contributing factor to his success, and also played its part in the decision to move to Bolton.

“If it is going to be route one then you can count me out,” he said. “There’s no point me being on the pitch if the ball is going to be up in the air all the time.

“I’m more about looking for the second ball, working hard around the penalty area.

“Speaking to the manager (Ian Evatt) he knows how he wants to play and he knows exactly what he will get from me as well. It’s a good fit.

“Sometimes you go to a club and you don’t know all that. It can be a bit of guesswork.

“I spoke to the gaffer about the way he wants to play and I think it will suit me down to the ground. I played with him at Chesterfield in a really attacking team and then he moved on to Blackpool, under Ian Holloway, and so we know what they were like.

“I think those experiences have rubbed off on him, influenced his philosophy on the game, and then to accomplish what he did at Barrow, it defied all expectations.”

On Friday Doyle became the first new signing of the Ian Evatt era at Bolton and, in the head coach’s own words, a “statement of intent” on the direction he wants to lead the club.

Wanderers are working hard to secure their top targets first this summer and look set to sign another of last season’s League Two stars, former Plymouth Argyle midfielder Antoni Sarcevic, in the coming days.

Like Sarcevic, the opportunity of playing football in the North West was a strong lure for Doyle, and though Bolton’s name had been associated with problems on and off the pitch in recent years he believes a fresh start can now be made.

“Coming to Bolton was a big move for me,” he said. “Obviously the size, stature and history of the club played a part but so did the geography. My family are in Liverpool and so coming back up here was perfect for me.

“I’ve been in this league a few times now and got promoted, so if that’s a good omen for Bolton, so be it. This club should be nowhere near this level of football but I’ll certainly be doing my bit to get things moving back in the right direction again.

“It has been a tough situation for Bolton in the last few years and we know the club has gone through a restructure. After all the madness, I just think it’s a good time to start over, make some good decisions and then get a bit of success. I’m sure there are people around the club and fans who deserve that after what they have been through.

“Please God, this can be the start of a spell where Bolton are winning games and picking up silverware.”

Doyle’s move to Wanderers has not been without its controversial moments.

Swindon boss Richie Wellens effectively announced the deal had been done last week in a radio interview where he appeared to question Wanderers’ financial stability.

"I believe Doyle has had a medical at Bolton. I’m surprised they’ve not announced it,” he told BBC Radio Wiltshire. “The amount of money Bolton are throwing around and a three-year deal for a player his age, we couldn’t get to that."

Wellens added: “He’s been fantastic for the football club but we’re moving up a level. Last time Eoin Doyle played in League One he got relegated.

“He’s done great for us and we wish him well but when you get to his age and a three-year deal is put on your lap it’s very difficult to turn down.

“Brilliant lad, great professional and suited the way we played. He had done great for us as we did great for him.

“It’s a parting of ways and we wish him well.”

There is certainly no ill-feeling on Doyle’s part and he hopes to see the Robins challenge for promotion again this season under Wellens in League One.

“I saw what was said and I don’t think it was taken in context,” he said of his former manager’s comments. “I’ve got nothing but fondness for Swindon and I wish them well going forward.

“I’ll be forever grateful to them for what they did for me, and the club will always have a place in my heart.

“It would be great to see them carry on the success we had last season and push on again.”

The lockdown in March meant Swindon’s League Two championship was decided off the pitch, with points-per-game eventually decided to settle the automatic promotion places.

Had teams voted to play on, Doyle believes the margin of victory – and his own goals tally – would have been even more comprehensive.

“It was hard to say goodbye to the lads at Swindon,” he said. “We won the league a little bit sooner than we’d have thought with everything that is going on but nobody can question we were worthy winners. If we’d have continued, we’d have won the thing by a good few more points, in my view.”