HARRY Brockbank is one of those who will be relishing the new start under Ian Evatt.

The Harwood defender earned plenty of plaudits at the start of last season for the way he led the Junior Whites in their memorable 0-0 draw against Coventry at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The 21-year-old resisted interest from Sunderland, Burnley and Ipswich last summer to pen a two-year deal to stay with his hometown club.

And Brockbank looked set for a major breakthrough, showing his leadership qualities in Wanderers’ time of crisis at the start of the 2019/20 campaign.

But of his eight appearances in all competitions last season, seven had come by September 3, his lone 2020 outing for the Whites coming in the 5-1 defeat at Lincoln in January.

Brockbank first tore a thigh muscle, ruling him out for the latter part of 2019, before finding opportunities limited in the final months of the campaign under Keith Hill.

New head coach Evatt has made a good first impression though, with the aims of the season clear after relegation to League Two.

“He’s been really welcoming, really enthusiastic and things like that,” said Brockbank. 

“It’s nice to have a fresh start. All the boys are just raring to get going.

“With Bolton being such a massive club the main aim is just to get promotion and all the boys are just looking forward to the challenge.”

The Bolton News:

After a frustrating end to last season Brockbank, like the rest of the country, then found himself in lockdown.

For a professional athlete, keeping occupied and motivated when your options are limited can be easier said than done.

“It’s great to be back, it’s been a long few months at home doing all your running and trying to keep fit and all that,” Brockbank told the club.

“It’s just great to see all the boys and be back at it.

“It was about trying to keep yourself going and trying to keep yourself motivated.

“You do different running, different gym things, but it’s obviously hard over such a long period of time.

“No-one’s experienced anything like this before.

“It’s difficult but I’m feeling good and I think all the boys are as well.”

The Whites have returned to training under strict guidelines to help with the spread of the coronavirus.

For week one it was a case of doing sessions in small groups of no more than five, as had been the case when both the Premier League and Championship returned to complete their delayed campaigns.

After a round of Covid-19 testing last Friday the Whites were given the all-clear to train as a group at the start of the second week of their eight-week build up to the League Two season beginning on September 12.

Social distancing and the regular use of hand sanitiser are still in evidence at Lostock but slowly but surely things are becoming more recognisable.

“It was just weird and I think everyone found it weird,” Brockbank said.

“I can’t really explain it, you have to keep your distance, you can’t shake hands with people but after a couple of weeks I think all the boys will get used to it and it should go back to normal.”