One can only imagine what has been going through the mind of Fankaty Dabo in the past few weeks.

Released by Coventry City a matter of days after his penalty miss in the play-off final shoot-out, then hit by a stream of disgraceful online comments at exactly the time when he needed support. I sincerely hope he was given it.

Football can be a glamorous life but when fortune can alter with the click of the fingers like that, I do not envy those playing in the spotlight every week.

Dabo played 131 times for Coventry and is clearly held in high regard by fans of the Sky Blues. He helped them out of League One as champions, then to gradually evolve as a Championship club to the point where they were a couple of kicks away from the Premier League. That is some achievement.

This summer Dabo will contemplate his next move and, unsurprisingly, there are plenty of clubs keeping an eye on his situation, of which Wanderers are one.

Ian Evatt needs a mobile right-sided defender to fill the hole created by Conor Bradley’s return to Liverpool, and on the free agent list there are few names who look a better fit.

From the player’s perspective, I can think of few better environments to ‘start again’ – as playing for Bolton Wanderers right now is as rewarding as it has been for some time.

Whether it is right wing-back or goalkeeper, whoever Evatt brings in this summer will be compared to James Trafford and Bradley. I think that is inevitable, given their impact over the last 12-18 months. And equally, those same players will have to be mentally strong to carve out their own path.

I can remember Tim Ream coming to Bolton in January 2012 hot on the heels of Gary Cahill leaving for Chelsea. The American defender was a totally different kind of player and person and he was intelligent enough to know he had to ride out that initial period where his every move and action would be held up against the man he effectively replaced in Owen Coyle’s team.

Considering the unstable team he entered, Ream settled quite quickly, and would go on to become the most consistent player in the squad over the next few seasons in the Championship.

The reward for anyone coming to Bolton this summer to be playing at a club on the up, in every conceivable manner. That brings its own pressure but I cannot imagine for a moment that Evatt will have to work too hard to sell Wanderers to any potential signings, even if there may still be greater financial rewards elsewhere.

The wing-back role has become such a glamorous one for Bolton – Declan John, Marlon Fossey, Conor Bradley have all added that touch of pizzaz that never seemed to exist when wide defenders were just known as full-backs. The way Evatt wants to play places great physical demand on those players to do both an attacking and defensive job, but the fans respond in kind, and no set of support likes a trier quite like Wanderers.


Alfie doesn’t know how to stop

The year is 2045, and a 58-year-old Adam Le Fondre slots another top-scorer award on his mantlepiece after another successful season.

There has always been something pleasingly old fashioned about the way Alfie goes about his business, almost like he is preserving a lost art.

In a game often blinded by tactical speak, of false nines and high regains, low blocks and Genenpressing, it feels somewhat cathartic to write about a player whose one aim in life is to get into the penalty box and put the ball in the back of the net.

Without doing Alfie down – he is a fine player who understands all of the above – there is nothing especially complicated about his game, nor has there ever been. He is a born goal-scorer.

Le Fondre signed for Hibs this week and, at the age of 36, will be playing European football next month in the Europa Conference League.

For a player who had seemingly put himself out to pasture by playing in Australia with Sydney – where he became the club’s second highest goalscorer of all time – or with a stint in the Indian Premier League with Mumbai, this is not bad going by anyone’s reckoning.

And I would not bet against him more scoring goals in Scotland at a club which is guided by his old Reading mentor, Brian McDermott. He simply doesn’t know how to stop.

Alfie is a Football Manager nut, so he will get this reference: But if the cheat still works, would it be possible for Wanderers to shortlist him, so we can sign his regen for free?


It's a numbers game

At this time of year fans are clamouring for a first look at the new kit designs and barely a day goes by without someone asking me on social media when shirts will go on sale.

Wanderers are expecting to do brisk business this season and have ambitiously upped their order with Macron to 16,000 – a rise of more than 45 per cent.

Fans voted on a ‘retro’ design for the home kit, and many speculate the away shirt will be black. A bespoke third kit will also be, to quote CEO Neil Hart, a bit ‘out there’.

I say it every year, but I just hope I can see the numbers. Stripey kits are the bane of my existence, and whoever thought it was a good idea to invent gold numbering should be locked away.

The very point of having names and numbers are to make players more identifiable – whether that is in the press box, the TV gantry, the stands, or even the referee. And it puzzles me why so many clubs seem to fail on this relatively simple design concept.

Or maybe I’m just getting old?