ANTONI Sarcevic is starting to feel in the swing of things with Wanderers.

Although a minor injury prevented him from playing in the pre-season opener against Atherton Colls, he has since stepped up from playing 45 minutes against Bamber Bridge to an hour at Loughborough University.

He has worn the captain’s armband on both his appearances thus far, and feels he is now starting to get in the groove following his summer move from Plymouth Argyle – helped by a 20-yard thunderbolt in the 6-0 victory.

“It felt like my first proper game for Bolton,” he said after the final whistle at Loughborough.

“The goal was nice. You always love scoring them like that - but I know it’s more about minutes in the legs and trying to follow the plans that the gaffer is bringing in.

“For me, it’s good to be out in the middle of it and playing again. I’m definitely enjoying it.”

Wanderers have based themselves near Loughborough University, whose excellent sporting facilities have been used by top clubs like Liverpool, Celtic and Derby County in recent years.

Sarcevic believes the extra time on the training pitch has helped settle in Evatt’s tactical changes and though the victory against the University side was blighted by Dennis Politic’s injury, the midfielder felt there was much to take from 90 minutes.

“It’s an unbelievable set-up here, the facilities we have been able to use are second to none,” he said. “It’s obviously a shame what happened with Dennis and we’ll back him all the way – but the result was a good one, for me, and it was a steady performance to go with it.

“The set-up has been perfect for the gaffer to implement the ideas he has on football and the lads have bought into it 100 per cent.

“In any pre-season you know the harder you work at this time of year, the better you feel later on and we’ve all put it in.”

Players have been recruited bespoke at Wanderers this summer, which has led to the creation of one of the more eclectic groups they have had in some time.

Fourteen new signings have been blended with the handful of players who dropped down into League Two – and Sarcevic thinks the week away will be hugely beneficial.

“These really are the pivotal weeks to get this group to gel,” he said.

“There are a lot of new signings and we have to get to know each other well. And just off our own backs I can tell you the first few days out here have been superb.

“I think when the gaffer brought in players this summer he has looked at personality as well as what they do out on the pitch. He wants this to be a successful team and you need character for that to happen. I’d back him 100 per cent on what he’s done so far.

“We’re gelling well, it’s a good group, and I think that will work well for the rest of the season.”

Wanderers have taken on three non-league sides to date, and currently have two more friendlies pencilled in before the start of competitive football at the start of September.

Sarcevic believes the club’s League Two rivals will have taken notice of the rampant start Bolton have made to their summer schedule, which could mean more opponents will set up in a similar fashion to Loughborugh on Tuesday – and look to contain.

“It was tough to break them down at times,” he said. “But we are going to be the big hitters in the league and the way the gaffer wants to play means that teams might have to set up like that against us. They know we are dangerous.

“It’s only beneficial to us to play these sort of situations and study how we can break teams down.

“Come the start of the season we should know how to handle them.”