WANDERERS’ success or otherwise in the League Two promotion race will be a big factor in their ability to keep hold of their star loanees, according to Ian Evatt.

From the moment Declan John and Dapo Afolayan walked through the door at the UniBol the Whites boss made it clear he hoped the pair would be at the club beyond the end of the season.

Swansea’s John and West Ham’s Afolayan are both available in the summer when their contracts with parent clubs expire but with the pair having lofty ambitions, Evatt knows League One football could be a crucial bargaining tool.

“We would be in a much better position if we got promoted, there is no doubt about that,” Evatt said.

“Both players have really helped get this club up the division and fighting for promotion and obviously we would like to keep them both but it will be a lot easier discussion in League One.”

John’s career had been in limbo on his arrival at Wanderers, the Wales international having been out of action for almost 18 months in the Championship.

The 25-year-old has starred for the Whites though with two goals in his 15 appearances at left back.

“Dec is a fantastic footballer who has had some big clubs for a relatively young age,” Evatt said.

“Things haven’t panned out at Swansea how he would have liked but thanks to the club because they have sacrificed a lot of salary that we haven’t been able to cover.

“He has improved since he has been here, which is great, and he is becoming a real proper player.

“He is still learning and at 25 he still has loads of time ahead but his ambition is to play as high as he can and get back into the Wales team. We want to give him the platform to do that.”

Afolayan dropped into League Two looking to make his mark in senior football after previous loan stints at Mansfield and Oldham, the 23-year-old forward’s one senior West Ham appearance being a goalscoring one in the FA Cup just days before his Bolton move.

“Dapo had loans as a younger player that didn’t really turn out,” Evatt said.

“He went back and worked really hard on his game with the West Ham Under-23s, scored in the first team in the FA Cup, and he has enjoyed himself here, played with a smile on his face.”