WANDERERS are close to clinching a deal for Barrow goalkeeper Joel Dixon.

The 27-year-old, who made 48 appearances at Holker Street last season, is out of contract this summer and has persistently been talked about as a Bolton target in the last few weeks.

A deal is understood to be close – but The Bolton News understands that Dixon is not the next signing currently expected through the doors at the UniBol this summer.

Recent reports in Cumbria had claimed that Barrow were still trying to convince the 6ft 4ins former Sunderland trainee to stay, which has prolonged a process discussed since the end of last season.

When Evatt left Barrow for the UniBol last summer it was announced that a “two-year embargo” had been agreed, which meant he could not sign players from his former club who were under contract.

The Wanderers boss is keen to provide Matt Gilks with experienced competition in League One this season, and feels his former charge is a man who ticks all the boxes after spending the last six seasons as first choice with the Bluebirds.

Dixon played 65 times for Evatt in the manager’s time at Barrow, which ended with him leading the club to the National League title.

Speaking last week, Evatt outlined what he wanted from a new goalkeeper this summer.

“We need someone who is ready to play and has played, and that is what we are looking for,” he said. “We have one or two options highlighted but whoever we bring in will be able to step straight in and be able to play to a similar standard to Matt.”

Meanwhile, former Wanderers midfielder Jack Earing could be heading back into the Football League with Walsall.

The academy graduate was released by the Whites in June 2019 after several years in the club’s academy.

He signed immediately for Halifax Town and he has been a mainstay in the Shaymen’s midfield this season, making 26 appearances and scoring five goals.

Walsall are said to have beaten Swindon, Oldham, Harrogate and Barrow to his services, which will reunite him with the ex-Bolton Under-23s coach Jamie Fullarton, who is currently the Saddlers’ technical director.