DAPO Afolayan is targeting a better goal return for Wanderers this season.

The former West Ham winger says he is ready to answer Ian Evatt’s challenge to improve his scoring return after signing permanently with the club this summer.

Afolayan’s only goal last season came in the memorable 4-1 win against Crawley on the final day and after netting a couple of times in friendlies – including against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday – the 23-year-old is now looking to take that form into League One.

“I set myself targets all the time,” he told The Bolton News. “It is something you have to do to be able to push yourself, you can’t get complacent.

“I need to score more. Last season I didn’t get enough goals. I have had a few in pre-season so I want to carry that into the season.”

Evatt has given Afolayan some instruction on where he can take up better positions on the pitch to claim more goals – and the youngster reckons his advice is sinking in.

“He’s always talking to me on how I can get better but I don’t think he wants to put too much pressure on me because he knows what I can bring to the squad,” he said. “It is nice to be working for a manager who understands you and pushes you in the right way.”

Nobody was happier to hear that full-back Declan John was returning to the club, with Afolayan able to resume the impressive partnership the pair shared on the left flank in the second half of last season.

“I was speaking to Declan over the summer, making sure he came back,” he said.

“We get on well. He is quiet, so am I, but we work well together and know each other’s game. “It is always good to have a partnership out there.”

Afolayan has managed to negotiate the summer without injury or illness, making him one of only a handful who go into this weekend’s game against MK Dons firing on all cylinders.

The winger is confident, however, that the extra quality brought into the club in the last couple of months will be enough to cover for any early-season fitness issues.

“I have looked after myself and I’ll keep doing that for the rest of the season,” he said. “We’ll have 50-plus games to play, so it’s a long time and we’ll have to manage ourselves. But there’s a big squad, so whether it’s me or anyone else, I think we will be competitive.

“That is something that comes with high level sport, high level football. You have to have a competitive squad who can push each other because it is the only way we are going to get better and improve.

“And what we have seen in pre-season will only get better as the squad gets used to each other.

“I think the transfer window has been really good for us. We have brought in players who will bring something different to the squad and we can play off each other. Building those relationships in the last few weeks has been great and I think we’re playing like a team which has been together for a while now.”