ANTONI Sarcevic believes last season’s loan heroes Dapo Afolayan and Declan John will be even better for Wanderers in League One.

The Bolton skipper was delighted to see their promotion-winning pair return to the University of Bolton Stadium to sign long-term permanent contracts.

Both Afolayan and John arrived in January to help transform Wanderers’ campaign, and Sarcevic believes the positive experience was always likely to lead to a full-time move.

But he also believes the two fan-favourites can push on to become real assets for the club next season at a level of football he feels they can handle comfortably.

“First of all, I’m really happy to see them both back,” Sarcevic told The Bolton News. “They both bedded in brilliantly to help us get the promotion and obviously they know this isn’t any ordinary club.

“When we went back, saw all the celebrations, I thought both of them really got involved with it all.

“From knowing them as a player I felt they were keen to come back, so it’s great to see that the club and the gaffer have got two very good players back to help us next year. And I think he knows they can improve us, even in League One.

“Dec’s record speaks for itself, he has played at the top level, but Dapo has clearly got the ability as a younger lad to make the step up. It was a no-brainer to bring them both back because they both knew what the club was all about, what a good group it is.”

Wanderers will be back in for fitness testing on June 25 and will travel to a training base in Scotland a week later to prepare for the pre-season schedule, which begins on July 10 at Longridge Town.

Sarcevic is looking forward to a summer of relative normality after the pandemic played havoc with scheduling in 2020, causing knock-on effects to players’ fitness.

He believes ex-Swansea City man John is a perfect example of a player who will benefit considerably from a full pre-season spent at a club in which he now feels comfortable.

“When he first came in he picked up a hamstring injury within the first week of training and I know myself, I think I picked up more injuries than I have ever had last season. I think a lot of that is down to the pandemic, the training just hasn’t been the same as when you do it on a day-to-day,” he said.

“Dec had to play catch up but once he did, his performances spoke for themselves. He was a key figure on the left for us.

“With a good pre-season, bedding down and getting in with the boys again, it will be exciting to see what he can do next season.”