IF all goes according to plan in the January transfer market, Wanderers may finally have the competition for places that Ian Evatt has craved.

On paper, the Bolton boss had finally found the top-end squad structure he was looking for back in August when the League One season began.

He had a first-choice team he felt could compete at the top end of the division and a back-up for (practically) every position on the pitch. But when a surge of injuries set in from October onwards, Evatt found out his skeleton squad was not quite up to scratch.

The loss of Gethin Jones proved especially damaging, with a handful of different players asked to play a role that was ultimately unfamiliar to them. The same could be said when Amadou Bakayoko or MJ Williams were side-lined – Bolton just did not have a valid alternative.

Evatt and his side limped, quite literally, through to the New Year and have now wasted little time adding new signings.

Dion Charles was signed for £320,000 from Accrington Stanley, Marlon Fossey loaned from Fulham and Xavier Amaechi’s deal extended from Hamburg. All three young, hungry and lively players give a big clue as to the direction Evatt wants his side to take in 2022.

“We are trying to bring in more energy and dynamism into the team,” he told The Bolton News. “The way we want to play is more energy and action, really.

“We attack with the ball, and we attack without the ball, that’s what we are trying to do.

“You need energy and pace to be able to do that and Marlon certainly fits the bill.

“We needed some real competition for Gethin (Jones). The younger players have done fantastically well but I think the drop off between our first choices and the options below has been too big at times this season, especially when we hit all the injuries.

“We are trying to build a squad and that is why I am talking about Wanderers 2.0, there will be players coming and going and we’re in that transitional phase where we want to be at the top end of this league to try and get ourselves into the Championship.”

After the signing of Fossey, Wanderers are looking to bring in three more players, with Evatt not ruling out the possibility of more cash signings.

He wants to avoid the last-minute dashes that past Bolton managers have been forced into – and hopes he will not be left waiting to the bitter end of the window, as he was 12 months ago, to bring in the men he wants.

Importantly, he feels the club’s reputation has been restored to the point that others are now willing to do business.

“I think we have become a team and club that can be trusted again,” he said.

“We have good people behind the scenes as well as the magnificent club and fanbase, which people knew about already.

“But we have also built a playing identity where more of the bigger clubs are now happy to trust us with their better young players, to educate them.”

Fossey signed a new contract with Fulham last summer but is looking for regular football and should his move to the North West go well, there is a willingness between all parties to sort a deal out in the summer.

Evatt is encouraged after winning a fight with David Beckham’s MLS franchise Inter Miami for the full-back’s services.

“They rate him highly at Fulham and I must emphasise we went to war a little bit with Inter Miami to get him in here,” said the Bolton boss.

“It shows you the lad’s attitude. Bolton over Miami? When you are playing at Lostock and get four seasons in one day it might have been easier to go the other way.

“But he has chosen us and it speaks volumes for what we are trying to do here.”