IT would be wrong to say that Wanderers have left the pain of Wembley behind them completely but the blue skies above their training camp on the Algarve have helped them focus on what is ahead, says new signing Chris Forino.

The former Wycombe defender was unsure at first whether the events of May 18 would affect the mood at his new club, or whether he would have to sit tight as others worked through their issues.

But not quite 50 days on from the play-off final, and with another double session of training completed, Forino was happy to report no signs of disillusionment from the sun-kissed pitches of Portugal.

“It was a bit of a shock, really,” he told The Bolton News. “First of all, it is a great group of lads. But the hangover that people will be talking about, it isn’t here. The boys understand it was a massive disappointment but there is none of that bad feeling, or anything hanging over us at the moment.

“We touched on it (the play-off final) the first day that we got here but pretty much hit the ground running after that. It hasn’t been mentioned.

“I don’t know the boys that well but there hasn’t been any mood change that I can see. The spirit in the camp is high at the moment and that has made it quite easy for me, Klaidi (Lolos) and Luke (Southwood) to settle in quickly.

“This kind of environment is always good for new signings. You spend 24 hours together, pretty much, you sleep, you’re in the gym, you’re on the pitch or eating together.

“I haven’t got a bad word to say about what I have found so far, it has been really positive.”

Forino had a relatively unique route into professional football. Released by Brentford at 16, then by Colchester United a few years later, he decided to channel his efforts into studies at Loughborough University, playing non-league for the likes of Wingate and Finchley.

But a second chance was offered out of the blue when an agent acquaintance contacted him to say Wycombe needed a centre-back to play in a development squad trial game. That led to a longer trial, a contract and eventually the professional debut he had always dreamed of making.

Forino admits, however, that his body is still adapting to the physical rigours of League One football, and a week of hard work on the training ground at Bolton has felt like another step up.

“I thank Wycombe so much for giving me the opportunity they did – I mean, I’d given up on football on two occasions in my life, so to be given another chance turning 21 it was almost like a miracle,” he said.

“But there is a difference between here and Wycombe, on the pitch and off it as well. It is slightly more demanding as an environment, physically and mentally.

“I am still getting into it, I have only been here a few days but the reason I chose to come to Bolton is exactly for that reason, I want to better myself on and off the pitch.”

Wanderers spend their last day in Portugal today (Thursday) before flying home on Friday and getting back to the grind at Lostock.

With Evatt hoping to instil a more flexible tactical plan this season, enabling the Whites to better cope with the different types of opposition which come their way in League One, Forino is excited by the prospect of pushing himself further. “It has been a lot of graft, hard work, not so much on the tactical side of things at the moment,” he said.

“It is a new level of demand on me at the moment but I feel like I am adapting well. I’m enjoying that personal challenge out there too.

“I’m champing at the bit, obviously, to get back and learn my role, learn what I can add to the team too, but I am enjoying the process.

“I want to contribute. One of the things I said to my agent at the end of last season was that it has to be the right environment, somewhere I am going to learn. That is a given here.

“I know I need to add things to my game, but I think I can also bring little things to the team that I already know and have picked up along the way. I can’t wait, to be honest.”