WANDERERS have had to call off the chase to sign striker David Ball from Wellington Phoenix.

The former Fleetwood and Rotherham front man had been lined up as the last piece of Ian Evatt’s attacking puzzle for a number of months – but Bolton learned this week that the A-League side would definitely not be releasing Ball from the remaining year of his contract.

Wellington recently parted ways with two of their foreign players – ex-Premier League men Steven Taylor and Gary Hooper – in order to cut costs.

Several clubs in the A-League are being forced into drastic measures to bring down their wage bill, and ex-Bolton striker Adam Le Fondre is among those who are looking to move elsewhere, with a move from Sydney to Mumbai in the Indian Premier League close to completion.

Manchester-born Ball was ready to move his young family back to the UK if his contract was torn up but was told this week that both he and Mexican Ulises Davila are being kept on for now.

Evatt had said a fortnight ago that the club were “well down the line” with a deal to sign an attacking player but admitted yesterday that the deal he had discussed was dead.

Declining to name the player in question, the Bolton head coach said he would now look to reinvest his budget in another target.

“That’s not happening now,” he said. “I can’t say too much about it but we have had to move on, it didn’t pan out how we thought it would.

“It is not the end of the world because a large chunk of our remaining budget was going to be spent on that player and that means that there are other opportunities. One door closes, another opens, but it’s important we get it right.

“We spent a lot of hard work in the summer looking to influence what was happening in the summer and we thought we had it done. It hasn’t turned out that way but we’ll go back to the drawing board and get someone of similar quality and of a similar ilk.”

It is understood attempts to sign Ball have been ongoing for months – and Evatt was disappointed that the efforts had come to nothing.

“It’s frustrating from my point of view because we’d been purposely patient and held off signing anyone else waiting for this one,” he said.

“It is disappointing. We’d sacrificed spending the money elsewhere waiting for this one to happen. It hasn’t, lesson learned, let’s try and get someone in of equal ability.”