WANDERERS hope they have found a way of ‘double checking their sums’ in the transfer market.

The winter window closed on Thursday night with the addition of four players to Ian Evatt’s squad – Aaron Collins, Caleb Taylor, Calvin Ramsay and Nat Ogbeta.

The business was well received by supporters and with 19 games remaining in the season there is genuine belief that an automatic promotion spot can be maintained.

The window was also the first in which Wanderers operated with a different balance to their recruitment plan, following the introduction of sports data advisory firm Ludonautics, run by ex-Liverpool head of research, Ian Graham, and sporting director, Michael Edwards.

Chris Markham, Bolton’s technical performance director, assembled a recruitment and analysis department virtually from scratch since arriving at in early 2021 after working with the Football Association and Huddersfield Town, and has been widely praised for helping Evatt turn around the club’s fortunes.

Ludonautics have been issued shares in Wanderers’ parent company Football Ventures (Whites) Limited but the extent of their involvement in recruitment has been much discussed over the last few weeks.

Speaking before this afternoon’s League One game with Barnsley, Evatt says the Essex-based firm’s input has given him an extra layer of security when making decisions in the transfer market.

“They have been additive,” he told The Bolton News. “Chris and his team do an unbelievable job, and they certainly have in supporting me to make the best decisions for this football club. I must emphasise that, it does come down to me and my decisions, but the support I get is magnificent.

“It is another check that we are on the right path and the right lines.

“What does it look like on that system? What about that one? It is really good and the more we can use each other’s information to make the best-informed decisions then the better it is for us as a club, and hopefully we get fewer wrong.

“This window is hopefully the first of many.”

The purchase of Aaron Collins from Bristol Rovers for a reported £750,000 fee is the most spent on a single player in the last decade at Wanderers.

The striker won last season’s Player of the Year award in League One after scoring 16 goals and providing 12 assists in a team that finished 17th in the table.

Though well known in the last couple of years at League One level, Evatt feels the 26-year-old’s signing is the sort of calibre the club should now be aiming to make the standard.

“Do you know what? That looks like lazy recruitment! It really isn’t, trust me,” he said.

“Everyone will say ‘that’s a pretty obvious choice, he won League One player of the season. But I wish – and one day, I will – you could see the level of detail we go through to recruit players with the partnerships we have now and with Chris and his team.

“He stands out on all the algorithms, all the work we do, and we believe he will go on and prove that.

“We think the business we have done is smart. We don’t like making impulsive decisions.

“It has been thought out, all four players are ones who we think can help us achieve our objectives this season.”