THEY say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but Kyle Dempsey intends to disprove the theory.

He might be in the 11th season of his professional career but the Wanderers midfielder reckons he has found out more about himself as a player at Bolton in the last 12 months than ever before.

Dempsey has become an increasingly influential figure for Ian Evatt’s side since the turn of the year and he is now looking to boost his goal return to make an even bigger impact.

“One thing I have been working on away from football, away from the training pitch, is finding myself in those better positions to score,” he told The Bolton News.

“I have watched what other players do, the runs they make, and even though I have added a few assists this season the main thing I want to bring is goals.

“You need goals from midfield to help out the strikers and I know the other lads have been looking at it as well. If we can chip in, then it will be a massive help for the team.

“Since I have been here, with the rocky start and injuries, I have always felt like I had a point to prove here at Bolton.

“The way the gaffer and the coaching staff work, the stuff I am doing behind the scenes, I feel like it is helping my game massively.

“I have turned 28 now and I didn’t think I could learn anything else in football. But working with them on a day-to-day basis, I am improving all the time.

“I felt even on the weekend at Reading that I was arriving in more dangerous moments and maybe not getting a shot away, so I still need to put that into my game.”

Demspey’s 28th birthday celebrations last weekend were dented somewhat by defeat against Reading – a game in which Bolton’s profligacy cost them three precious points.

Plenty of criticism has been aimed at Wanderers’ attacking players for a wasteful performance but back on the training ground, Dempsey says there has been a shared responsibility to put it right.

“We would never look to them and blame them, we lost that game as a collective,” he said.

“It is a good thing they are there in those moments, the right place to take chances, but obviously it is unfortunate they didn’t in the end.

“All week we have been striving to improve, focusing on that, getting in there and staying cool, putting the chances away. We create so many, if we can develop that clinical and ruthless streak then some games are going to be over by half time.

“At the very start of the season that was happening. We were putting teams to the sword and we have to get back to that against Peterborough this weekend."

Recent weeks have been painful for Dempsey, who picked up a back injury in the win against Fleetwood and has been managing the pain over the last few weeks.

“I got another nasty one in training from Vic (Adeboyejo) as well – he nearly shattered my nose in half!” he said. “The back has been an issue but I’m starting to get pain-free now. I have been getting through things with painkillers and that, but I don’t want to miss games. Any time I can be out there, I will be, 100 per cent.”

But when the football proves all too much, Dempsey can always turn to man’s best friend – and a photogenic pooch who is currently going down a storm on Instagram.

Bailey (whose regular adventures are documented on the account iambailey_thecocker) has amassed close to 1,000 social media followers and has even been pictured with Dempsey’s man of the match award from the Papa Johns Trophy final.

“I can honestly say I have nothing to do with that account,” the midfielder grinned. “My Missus runs that - and Bailey is a great little guy, like, even though he is starting to be a bit naughty at the minute, chewing through things.

“If we signed him here he’d win the ball back every time!”