IAN Evatt has confirmed that Wanderers are close to agreeing a deal with Declan John to return to the University of Bolton Stadium.

The free agent, who was a huge hit in last season’s League Two promotion, is keen to return to the North West on a permanent basis after his release from Swansea City.

After joining on loan in January, John made 21 appearances for the Whites and scored twice, reviving a career which had threatened to drift into limbo at the Liberty Stadium.

Though he has had offers from elsewhere, the 25-year-old looks poised to commit to a return – with Evatt admitting a decision could be made by the end of this week.

“There is a willingness from both parties to make the deal happen,” he told The Bolton News.

“The deal isn’t quite there yet but we’re confident we can do it and hopeful that Dec enjoyed his time and wants to come back and enjoy some more time. Fingers crossed there will be some good news on that front this week.

“The bonus for us is that we’re now a League One club, that’s huge, and in this division we are still a big club. That goes for us.

“Dec has obviously felt and seen a lot of love from the supporters and that is important, to go somewhere they are wanted, and feel wanted, feel appreciated.

“He lost his way for a couple of years at Swansea but wanted to enjoy his football again. We gave him the platform and hopefully that will be enough to get him back next season.”

Wanderers are in need of cover at left-back, with Liam Gordon currently the only specialist in the squad.

It is understood that Evatt is exploring options to bring a third full-back in this summer, once he has nailed down his number one target, John.

Wanderers yesterday confirmed that Ryan Delaney had failed to agree a new contract with the club and would be released.

The defender added in a message on social media: "Want to wish everyone involved with the club the very best for the future from the fans, board, staff and players. Really enjoyed my time at the club. A Memorial year which won’t be forgotten."