Weighing up the Bodvarsson debate,

by Liam Hatton

Wanderers are on quite the run right now - Seven straight wins, third in the League One table and a point off the top will leave little room for debate in terms of squad selection.

However, there is always a debate around these parts, because this is Bolton and this is what we do. The topic of conversation this week is whether Jon Dadi Bodvarsson deserves a starting spot after two goals against Stockport County in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.

Not only that, but Bodvarsson has had a considerable impact recently off the bench, assisting George Thomason’s winner against Blackpool last weekend and playing a part by starting the move for Wanderers’ second at Shrewsbury Town, with some neat footwork down the flank.

I understand and appreciate the arguments for both sides. As a staunch supporter of Victor Adeboyejo who feels his impact goes unnoticed it would be harsh to drop him, especially when Bolton are in such a good run of form.

Adeboyejo has five strikes in 14 league appearances this season. I do understand three of those came in one game against Lincoln City, but his role extends beyond his goals for me.

I can already anticipate the comments about strikers needing to score goals and how he is a terrible football player. I do not know if it is the price tag and the high expectations, but he has been dug out as the number one target by a lot of fans I sit around at games.

He has struck up a partnership with Charles, and whilst I believe Bodvarsson is much better bringing the ball under control with his first touch, there is no doubt that right now Adeboyejo is the fitter of the two, he has more in game experience this season and has factors weighing in his favour.

I do believe Bodvarsson will get a run of games at some point, and I would not totally be against it if that were to happen against Exeter City, but I fully understand Evatt's position in terms of easing the Icelandic international back into action as the injuries have been unfortunate and frustrating.

“Jon is getting back to himself, and we are pleased with that,” Ian Evatt said to The Bolton News. “Obviously, we have had to tread carefully and cautiously but I have seen some really good signs from him in the last few weeks. He deserved his goals tonight.”

The fact is the squad will be needed over the course of the season and having an option on the bench - whether it is Bodvarsson or Adeboyejo - is a good problem to have if you are Evatt.

Competition is only a good thing and with Bodvarsson finally getting some minutes and consistency under his belt, this can only push the other strikers on the pitch to continue to improve their game.

So yes, I hear the shouts and I am sure Evatt does too. Bodvarsson is almost certainly back and continues to get better with every appearance.

Can we just tone down on the clap please? I do not hate it, but every single game is a bit too on the nose.

The Bolton News:

Class of 2023/24 v Class of 2016/17

by Tony Thompson

After listening to The Buff Podcast this week I got lost down a rabbit hole of goals from the 2016/17 season and the last time I celebrated a promotion from League One.

The question was asked, which team and manager is better, Ian Evatt’s current one or the team that went up six years ago under Phil Parkinson, with ‘that’ guy in charge of the club. Don’t worry, I won’t invoke his name for fear of him appearing in my bathroom mirror.

It really is a tough question to answer and, like Henry, my instant reaction was to say that I enjoy watching this team more because they play football which is easier on the eye, they score some truly amazing goals, and I am also developing an unhealthy obsession with Josh Sheehan.

When you look back at some of the goals scored in Parky’s promotion season, there are a lot of goalmouth scrambles, a lot of David Wheater and Mark Beevers headers, a lot of times where the ball appears to have been bullied into the net, rather than caressed.

I don’t remember caring about that at the time. I don’t think I have ever celebrated a goal as wildly as Wheater’s header at Port Vale on the penultimate game of the season, which we thought had sealed promotion at the time. One moment I was grabbing hold of my friend, Andy, the next we were surged forward, and then I found myself being pushed back off the pitch by stewards – and Wheater himself at one point.

That style of football was effective, and Marc was right in what he said on the pod, there were also some very good footballers in there too. Fil Morais, Adam Le Fondre, Zach Clough, Sammi Ameobi – and my wife’s personal fave, Lawrie Wilson, they weren’t long ball merchants by any stretch. That team could mix up its style and I think that is where Evatt’s team is starting to really improve.

They went to Wycombe and scored from a set piece, they went toe-to-toe with Shrewsbury, they are suddenly looking like a team that can roll their sleeves up and fight when they have to.

If they go up this season – and I pray to every available God that they do – I think this side will be held in even higher esteem that the one that beat Peterborough United on the last day.

And where are Bolton on the final weekend of this season? Sounds like a Posh day out to me.