IT would be easy to look at the way Wanderers finished last season and feel they already have enough about them to create a better promotion case this time around.

Only MK Dons took more points than Bolton from mid-January onward, which is a glowing recommendation for the recruitment work they did in the winter window.

Investing in the likes of Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Dion Charles, James Trafford, Kieran Sadlier and Marlon Fossey added an undeniable layer of quality to a group which had looked worryingly weak pre-Christmas when injuries and illness struck.

That Ian Evatt took 23 players across to Portugal for a pre-season training camp says a lot about the healthy state of the squad. But the Whites boss knows he cannot afford to stand still and admire his handiwork.

Wanderers have already missed out on a couple of transfer targets this summer, with Fossey’s planned return kyboshed by Championship interest and a move for Gillingham’s Jack Tucker dashed because the defender wanted to stay down south, eventually joining MK Dons.

Some reports yesterday also claimed that Accrington midfielder Matthew Butcher has also shunned a move to Bolton in favour of Plymouth Argyle.

To what extent Wanderers were interested is unclear – but the story certainly adds to the narrative of a summer in which Evatt has not had things his own way.

The Bolton boss has always maintained that he has not had a financial demand turned down by the club’s ownership, qualifying that statement with the fact he would not jeopardise its financial security by paying over the odds.

There is continued talk of sustainability, although outside the Premier League that often simply amounts to an acceptable amount of money lost, rather than any actual balancing of the books.

Wanderers have not had to fend off any cash bids for players thus far despite the odd rumour about Ricardo Santos – now tied to a three-year deal – and Dapo Afolayan doing the rounds from time to time.

To improve the squad, it will now come down to how much investment is deemed ‘sustainable’ by Football Ventures and whether the much-vaunted recruitment team, led by Chris Markham, can find alternate targets of equal quality to the ones which have fallen by the wayside.

Liverpool youngster Conor Bradley is the player they have turned to after Fossey. And while there will undoubtedly be questions asked of his first team experience – his pedigree as a member of the Liverpool first team is obvious.

Bradley has played Champions League football and that he has not pushed past Trent Alexander-Arnold to make more of a dent in senior football at the age of 18 is hardly a great shock.

Wanderers must come up with equally compelling answers elsewhere in the squad if they want to improve upon what they did in 2021/22.

Evatt will be here in Portugal watching how his squad are shaping up in the balmy Atlantic sunshine – but he also needs to pay attention to what they are missing, for this could be the most important transfer window of his managerial career.