WANDERERS have a pretty decent record as a saviour of lost souls, so Jak Hickman need not worry too much.

The youngster was full of contrition speaking to the club in his first interview, apologising for an immature video which got plastered all over social media from his Coventry City days, effectively ruining his career in the Midlands.

It is a mistake that could have been very costly, and one Sky Blues fans will most likely remind him of for the rest of his days. Thankfully, the youngster seems determined to make sure it does not define the rest of his footballing career elsewhere, and good luck to him.

Bolton fans have proved adept down the years for forgiving imperfections, some considerably more serious than some daft comments filmed on a mobile phone.

The grand example is El-Hadji Diouf, of course, and while supporters of Liverpool (and many more besides) still scowl when the Senegal star’s name is mentioned, he is still revered at Wanderers because he established a very human connection with the terraces which had nothing to do with his considerable ability.

Dioufy felt loved and consistently delivered the goods on the pitch, he made time for the fans, he wore a cow-print onesie. And while we could fill a whole new column with his flaws, they were outweighed by what the club got from him in the Sam Allardyce era.

It was the same for Gary Madine, who came to Bolton on a free transfer after serving time in prison. The actions which landed him in trouble cannot be condoned but, eventually, fans were able to differentiate between the man who had made obvious mistakes and been punished, and the one who was pulling on a shirt every Saturday.

He arrived an unwanted free transfer, and left Bolton as a £6million striker who went on to play in the Premier League.

Hickman’s misdemeanours are relatively trivial but they do mine down into one of the most fundamental requirements of any player when they sign for a club, that of respect. Fans are forgiving types when it comes to the actual football – you can be the villain one week, a hero the next out on the pitch.

However, the terraces are bloodhound-keen to sniff out on any display of contempt for the club, whether that comes in verbal form or – more often – in believing the player in question is not giving their maximum effort to the job.

‘Not trying’ is a lazy accusation, and one which is too regularly reached for in football. It completely ignores the complex mental and physical factors which go into performance, and one of the things which separates a good manager/coach from an average one is being able to spot signs and act on them before players get out in front of a crowd, where problems can be magnified.

There was a reason Diouf played his socks off for Bolton, but not for Liverpool. Part of it came from his paternal relationship with Allardyce, some from a sense of obligation he felt to the club, who had moved mountains for him and his family to help them settle.

Madine struggled to settle under Neil Lennon’s abrasive coaching style but flourished when Phil Parkinson and Steve Parkin put an arm around his shoulder and brought in more players with whom he could identify into the dressing room.

You will notice very little of this has to do with tactics. Of course, they play a significant role once the whistle is blown but only a fraction of getting the very best out of an employee. The biggest battle for any manager or head coach is getting people to ‘buy in’ completely.

Ian Evatt has assembled a squad which, on paper, looks well capable of achieving promotion from League Two this season. And so much seems to be counting in his favour.

His stock is sky high after what he achieved with Barrow last season, he has the unwavering support of the fanbase, and has control of a club which seems hellbent on moving on rapidly from the nightmare it has endured for the last few years.

It should be a pleasure to represent Bolton Wanderers this season, and more importantly, an honour. Getting every man in the dressing room to respect that will make Evatt’s job so much easier.