Hungerford Town – Moving on up

Here we are, back from my family holiday to Scarborough and the team have also rejoined us. The first major announcement is that we are on the move. The board has arranged to do some much-needed modifications so we can legally play in the division. We will play our home games at The County Ground, currently owned by Swindon Town. An extra 20 miles from Bulpit Lane but hopefully it will be worth it.

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Next up we arrange some Pre-season friendlies, below are the games we will be playing. screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-23-34-30

Hopefully not too much to worry about within the preseason. The game against Bath will be a test as they were a team I struggled against last season.

For the first time Hungerford Town have to announce squad numbers. Some of the players are new to the team, we will have a look at them shortly. Will Britt has been promoted to my first team Goalkeeper after Legg’s departure even though he didn’t make my bench last season. Maybe I should have paid him more attention.

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So my preseason was at best average. A defeat against Basingstoke and a draw against Bath didn’t leave me feeling overly confident. A number of plays have come in and a few departures so hopefully it will just be a case of them getting to know each other. I am slightly concerned at the lack of depth in defence, more specifically a right and left full back. I have two great youngsters to cover but I feel it may not be enough.

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The first league game of the season was coming around quickly, this is how August looks.

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August Fixtures

Looking at my fixtures I am expecting it to be a tough start for Hungerford Town. I’m hoping for 6 points anything else will be a bonus.

The season ticket sales come in, we have had a massive boost in sales from last season. I really hope the long-term attendance will approve this season. This will help pay the loan of funds for the stadium.

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Season Tickets

A good start in our first game in the Vanarama National. Unlikely hero being Nicholas Bignall. He recently signed a part-time contract with the club which pleased both me and fans alike.

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A mixed bag of results for us this month, 2 wins, 3 defeats and a draw. To be honest it was a better start than i imagined. A tough start to the campaign for the Hungerford town team but it gives us something to build on. Jordan Allan, Bignall and Callum O’Sullivan have been instrumental so far this season. Well done lads

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I was left a little disappointed by the defeat against Wealdstone. The rest of the results I felt fairly pleased about, the 3-2 victory away at Gateshead was a great away result for us. So that’s the end of the month game wise, lets take a look at the incoming and outgoing transfers.

Transfers in

transfersinA fairly busy ‘transfer’ window for us, a lack of quality in attack was a major worry. I signed youngster Jordan Allan on a free from Wolves in the hope he will provide some goals. I am also excited by the proposition of Dexter Peter, another youngster I managed to get on a free transfer from Colchester. Check them both out below

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Dexter Peter
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Jordan Allan

Transfers Out

A fairly quiet affair in regards to players out. I had let most of my unwanted non-contract players go throughout the season. The only surprise maybe Nat Jarvis leaving on a free. I felt the wages would be better spent elsewhere either on new players or giving the remaining Non-contract players a deal.

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Join back up with the Hungerford Town boys in January, we will catch up on the first half of the season’s results and any transfer business. In the mean time, don’t forget to like, share & RT. 

Cheers

Hungerford Town – Misson Impossible

February ’17

After a quiet January we return for the run in to the Vanarama South. Can we keep up the pressure and bag ourselves a playoff place? Is the dream on. Lets find out.

East Thurrock gave us another game in hand due to the disastrous drainage system at Bulpit Lane, we took full advantage and send them home on the end of a 3-1 defeat. A Stefan Brown hat trick was enough to get the win. Fantastic.

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In the social feed the fans are getting excited by the prospect of Hungerford possibly recording their highest league finish ever. I sure hope we can achieve this and send everyone home happy.

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Next team to the Lane were Bishops Stortford. What a game this was, a 7-0 thrashing with both Bignall and Brown getting hat tricks. I had never won by such a clear-cut margin in a competitive game. Well done everyone.

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The team of the week looked a bit familiar too.

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A thrashing at the hands of Ebbsfleet didn’t brought us back down to earth with a bang. This was swiftly followed by a score draw at home against Maidenhead. Although a bad end to the month of love, I am pleased with my team especially my strike force as they have scored a massive 12 goals in 4 games. The stand out performance was Stefan Brown, he helped himself to more than half the goals scored by my team including two wonderful hat tricks.

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March ’17

We headed into March with nothing to lose but everything to gain. Could a playoff place be on the cards for this semi professional outfit, here’s hoping. 2 home games and 3 away games will hopefully reignite my players and help them push for a playoff place.screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-04-00-41

Before we started the games this is how the tables currently looks. screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-04-01-03

So the games against Poole & Hampton & Richmond didn’t go as planned and we left our first 2 games with only 1 point. Fortunes would change against Concord and Weston-super-Mare. Two good wins against two strong opponents help my cement my place in the playoffs. Another hat trick for Hungerford’s main attacking force Stefan Brown was just the icing on the cake in our home win against Weston-super-Mare.

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Stefan Brown is becoming a first team star. Will his goals be enough to get us into the playoff places. The last game of March game against Welling, another tough tie and another disappointing draw. Ahead of the next season, what ever league im in, I need to sort out my back line. I seem to be conceding to many unnecessary goals.

During this period we have also had our annual youth intake, we have a few gems coming thru, lets take a look; screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-15-41-24Daniel Marshall

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-15-41-50Jack Watts

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The above youth players are the stand out players in my youth ranks. They will all be in with a chance of representing the first team before the end of the season. They will also be pivotal to the teams continuing development.

We finish the month in 2nd place behind Gosport. Going into the final month of the season we are still hoping we can secure a playoff place. As I said before surviving this league is a bonus anything else is a fairytale.

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April ’17

Here we are, April 2017. Could this be a month to remember for Hungerford Town, their fans and the board. The lead is Gosport’s to relinquish and everyone else to maintain their form. I guess we could finish anywhere.

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So this is it, the final 6 games fo the season. Can we do it? Can Hungerford Town make the playoffs.

A great win against St Albans, a team also pushing for a playoff place was a great start.  A solid display from both the attacking and defensive line lead to an enfatic 4-0 win. Another 2 wins against Whitehawk and Dartford guaranteed us a playoff place, fantastic news for a team expected to be relegated.

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3 wins on the bounce puts me into 1st place, this is now mine to lose. Can we hold our nerve? Can Brown keep up his goalscoring form?

A draw and a defeat in my next 2 games, a good draw against promotion rivals Hemel Hempstead coupled with a disappointing defeat to Wealdstone left me a point away from automatic promotion going into the last game. Can we do this? Last game of the season was a home tie against Chelmsford. Nerves have defiantly set in when we sit down and kick off. There was no need to be nervous, a boring 0-0 draw was all I needed and that’s exactly what I achieved.

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End of season awards

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Above is Hungerfords end of season review. Well done to Nicky Shorey on Fans Player of The Year and Stefan Brown the highest goal scorer.screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-01-04-20


screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-01-22-35A massive congratulations to Stefan Brown claiming the Divison’s Top GoalscorerI claimed the Manager of the Season award too in what has been a fine season.

So next time we will look at our first pre-season and month in the Vanarama National League. Can the fairytale continue? Keep a look out for the next update.

RT’s, likes and follows much appreciated 🙂

Hungerford Town – January Sales

January 17 – Mission Playoffs.

So quite a hectic month ahead even without the cup games. The traditional New Years Day fixture got cancelled due to Bulpit Lane it will give me more time to prepare for the Gosport game, I must admit I don’t want this game to happen. At all, ever. This is how the rest of the month looks;screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-00-33-06

So the Gosport game arrived and credit to the boys they have been a totally different side since our humiliating defeat at the hands of Gosport. We are still without centre back Watkins-Clark and goalkeeper George Legg we will line up the same as we have been doing, hopefully I have finally found a formula that seems to work.

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A spirited defeat against Gosport. Even with 10 men we made it a far closer affair than last time out. Bignall with a brace before Tyler got himself an early bath with two yellow cards. After the 6-1 defeat earlier in the season I left kind of pleased.

Although the red card ended his day prematurely, Tyler still made the team of the week. So did Bignall. Bignall also turned down a move to Bishops Storford and stayed with us. Here’s hoping the big man can make an impact in Hungerford.

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So my fixture list changed in front of my very eyes. A still waterlogged pitch at Bulpit Lane and Eastbourne Boro having a cup reply the month now looks like this

A great win against Truro puts me back in the playoffs with two games in hand. O’Sullivan had a great afternoon scoring his first ever goal for Hungerford. Was nice to see George Legg back between the sticks after his recent injury problems.

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Revenge is what I want, the next game against Bath is personal. We go into the game in good spirits apart from this will probably the last game for Hackett-Fairchild. We will re-approach him to see if we can secure another loan deal.

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Revenge is sweet, whatever anyone tells you. A great 3-1 win against Bath helps us to close the gap between our rivals. Segura had a great game coming on as a substitute and getting a brace helping us on our way to a great victory.

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Next up is the rearranged game against Eastbourne Boro. In reality the less said about this the better. A 1-0 defeat leave a sour taste in the mouth at the end of the month. Although Hungerford’s march into the playoffs is still promising. 6th place with a game in hand is quite enough at the end January. Only 7 points separate the team in 1st and us, we do have a game in hand tho.

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Transfers In

Only one player has arrived in January. David Moli arrives on loan from Nuneaton. Hopefully he will have the same impact as Hackett-Fairchild had on his loan spell.

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 Transfers Out

The only activity in this department was a couple of fringe team players have been released. Non-contract terms can be useful sometimes I guess.

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Thats it for a short and sweet January. As you can see we havent done a great deal in the transfer window. We still hope to push on for the playoffs and a chance at promotion to the Vanarama National League. catch up at the end of the season to see how we fare.

RT’s, follows and likes are all greatly appreciated, see you next time 🙂 

Hungerford Town – Mid season review

As September rolled in, we started with two draws against Margate and Truro. Whilst slightly disappointed with 2 points when I should have had 5 after throwing away a good lead at Margate. I was not happy when we got hammered by Gosport.

The Gosport game made me re think my starting 11. A slight formation tweak too and we head to the game. So the next three games, Weston-super-Mare, Sholing (In the cup) and fellow mid table men Hampton & Richmond.

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Great undefeated since our defeat against Gosport, scoring 9 in the process and only conceding 3 didn’t seem too bad considering we are expected to get relegated. In the run into October, we had our first ever players in The Team Of The Week awards. Hopefully this is the start of many. Well done Ryan Tyler and Hadden-Becker.

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October 16

So October gave me a chance to qualify for the FA Cup. It didn’t quite go to plan, a great win against Maidenhead gave me a tie against Concord Rangers. They left victors after giving me an old-fashioned schooling.

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The league on the other hand has been great. My now 3 rotational strikers have been brilliant scoring 9 goals between them this month. The defence on the other hand a little sketchy. A new face in the side Callum O’Sullivan has proved to be an inspired signing and is providing a great attacking influence. The ex-QPR youngster has helped contribute to the goal scoring with 4 assists in 3 games. Find his impressive game ratings below

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If he keeps this up he may very well become one of Hungerford’s best players. Long may this form continue.

I start November in 4th place, unbelievable, could the unthinkable be on? Hungerford Town in the playoffs? Lets hope for a good month.

November 16

It starts well on a personal level and player level. I take the manager of the month award and goal machine Nat Jarvis gets third place in the player of the month.

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Another win against Whitehawk was a good start to the month, things soon changed. Two draws on the bounce and a two longterm injuries to key players left me feeling disappointed. Will this turn into a december free fall. I really hope not, a good 6 games unbeaten is a Hungerford record. I just need to figure out the best back line. Just waiting for Nicky Shorey to regain fitness to slot back in on the left, hopefully this will be another brick in the wall.

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A defeat in the qualifying rounds of the FA Trophy left me looking back on November in a reflective way. Maybe out of the cups but I can now concentrate on the league and Hungerford’s quest for a strong league position in this, their first season in this division. Come on Boys. 

December 16

A fairly quiet December by all accounts with only 3 games coming in the Christmas month. Merry Christmas to us. With us already have beaten Margate we should already have 3 points in the bag. It’s  never that easy tho is it.  Chelmsford are 21st in the league so it leaves the biggest challenge down to Bath. Hopefully a good result will be replayed in the New Years Day fixture at Bulpit Lane. We can do this, let’s get the playoff’s firmly in our sights.

Chelmsford gave us a good start with a great 2-0 win. Not only did another striker add his name to the list of goal scorers, our loan star Hackett-Fairchild bagged his 10th goal of the season. I’m hoping to extend his loan from Charlton when the loan window allows.

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A massive 14 days between the fixture against Margate, the players return to training as normal but without a game have more time to prepare for the next part of the month. Margate was a harder task than I imagined but we still came out on top in a hard-fought 2-1 win. Next was the away trip to Bath. Things didn’t go to plan and we walked away with our first league defeat in 11 games.

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We finish the month in the playoffs. Hoping to kick on in the New Year and cement our place in the playoff places. First up will be a trip to Pulpit Park for Bath.

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That’s it for this part, next up will be a more in-depth look at January. Can we keep Hackett-Fairchild? Will Stefan Brown keep up his rich goal scoring form? Is Callum O’Sullivan destined to flourish? Find out in the next instalment.

Any likes, comments RT’s or shares much appreciated, see you next time.

Hungerford Town FC – The fairytale

A brief history

Hungerford Town was founded in 1886 initially playing friendlies as there was no local league or cup competitions available to join.Their first record of a fully competitive game was when the club in the 1901–02 season reached the final of the Newbury Cup, losing 2–0 to Newbury Town, but they won the competition three seasons later. The club joined the Hungerford League and then became founding members of the Newbury league in 1909. In their first season they won the Newbury Challenge cup, four seasons later they won the league and retained the league title in the 1913–14 season. After the First World War the club reformed in 1919 and went on to win the Newbury league again that season and in the 1921–22 season. Fast forward 92 years, Hungerford got into the play-offs in 2014/15 but were beaten by Truro City. Hungerford bounced back in 2016 however and won promotion to the National League South by defeating Hitchin Town (3–2)in the play-off semi-final and then Leamington (2–1) in the final to progress to their highest level of football in their 130 years of history.

My Aim’s

In this game I aim to help develop Hungerford Town into a true force in English football. I want to help develop the whole club from youngsters to coaching staff. I have a preference to sign youth team players as anyone who has read previous blogs will have noticed. I want the club to be stable financially so will include clauses to help make money in the future for all players I sign or any contracts I renew.

The Team

After a brief press conference and a meeting with the board, I go off to find my current squad. This is how they look.

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As you can see, we are very thin on the ground in all departments. This will mean diving into the free transfer market to sign some youngsters and maybe add some experience too. The two big players at the moment are James Harper and Nicky Shorey. Even with a collective age of 70 they are still killing it in this division. I feel along as I can keep them fit and injury free I will be able to stay away from the drop zone. Let’s hope we can create a fairy tale.

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James Harper
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Nicky Shorey

Pre-season

My pre season is only 3 games long, therefore i will play my preferred first team in all the games, unless i manage to sign a couple of youngsters along the way.

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So Daventry gave me my first look at the team, the tactics and the instructions I’ve set up to use.

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Daventry was a great win for the team in my first pre season friendly. Next up games against New College Academy and Mangotsfield

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Pre season went without too much of a hitch, a confident win against New College Academy and a spirited display turning a poor start to a winning performance against Mangotsfield left me feeling confident ahead of my first league game.

So it’s here, my long-awaited first game in charge of Hungerford Town. An away day to East Thurrock. The team will line up like this.

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Looking at the time you will all notice a couple of the new boys making the starting 11. I’m hoping for a good performance although I am relegation favourites. Hope it’s not a long season.

An okay display against East Thurrock I decide to only make one change to the line up with veteran winger Alan O’Brien being recalled after his display from the bench. Oxford City will be the visitors in the first home game of the season. I’m still waiting on one new player who will hopefully shore up the back line.

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Two good wins in a row, a good game against relegation rivals with Stefan Brown getting both the goals and carried it on with the winning goal in a 1-0 win against Ebbsfleet. 7 points in my first 3 games, couldn’t have wished for a better start.

We came back down to earth with a bang, 1 point from 9. Not to concerned yet as we are only 6 games in. Come on Hungerford Town, we can do this. Stefan Brown continues to be a massive threat in front of the opposition goal. Long may that continue.

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Onto my last game of the month and this blog piece, Hemel Hempstead are the visitors to Bulpit Lane. The team look slightly different to the first game of the season with defender Watkins-Clark already in first team contention. There has also been a slight change in formation, I’m going down the ‘score more than them’ philosophy. 

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What a result, a 1-0 win against early leaders Hemel Hempstead. A great display from the defenders with Day putting in a Man Of the Match performance. so far we are doing well.

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All thought teams in the National League South don’t have transfer windows, i have put a brief overview below.

Transfers In

We have had to out players in every position so we signed a fair number of players. Most of them arrive on ‘Non-contract’ terms. A couple have been signed on Part time contracts.

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Transfers Out

There was only one transfer out, he left to go to another National League side, luckily AFC Telford are classed as a Northern team

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So that’s it for this instalment, we will catch up in January. Any likes, comments, follows and RT’s much appreciated 

28 Days Later…

February brings about  its own challenges, although it’s the shortest month I will still play 6 games in 28 days. A little squad rotation will be happening and may see a first team debut for new signing Sarmiento. Another award headed towards the Macron Stadium, Mario has managed to go and bag himself the Goal of the Month award. I guess that wasn’t a bad end to your first month in England.

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The first difficult challenge is MK Dons, the team will line up like this;

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A fantastic start to February with the 4-1 win against promotion rivals MK Dons. Wilks hat trick was the icing on the cake in what was a pleasing performance all round. Tom Thorpe was recalled and proved has given me some tough decisions to make with regards to my back two. Battistelli has been in good form in the games he’s played. Van der Heyton will be fully fit before the next game so will be recalled. After the MK Dons game, former Bolton favourite Jay-Jay Okocha took time out to praise youngster Wilks.

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Before the game I also decided that Samizadeh would be included on the bench. Walsall was great, another good win against Walsall and Mario getting another 2 goals taking his total to 4 goals in 6 games. Great, I may finally have found an answer to injury prone Clough. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do between now and the end of the season, maybe Clough’s time at Bolton is coming to a premature end.

The game against Rochdale two days later provided me with a 3rd win on the bounce. With a goal worthy of an award and some impressive passing play, Pratley got us the winner. Take a look at the build up stats below;

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With promotion rivals Bradford our next opponents we parted company with 3 players. Taylor, Trotter and Wheater all left to join clubs in America. This doesn’t affect my team at all as none of them had any chance of playing in the first team. A result at Bradford meant it was 4 wins in 4 games. Clough got a last-minute winner from a lovely free kick.

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Loan Player watch – Kujala & Purzycki

Having loaned Kujala to Torquay to help aid his development we take a look at his form and stats for his new club. Unfortunately I will not be renewing the youngsters contract as he has not developed as much as I would have liked. His performances have also not been up to standard.

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Purzycki was also loaned out, this time he packed his bags and went of to join Forest Green Rovers. This, so far, has been a successful loan spell and thru good performances and encouraging scout reports has earned him a new contract. Take a look at his overall form below;

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Sheffield United meant I had to change my team thru suspension. Wassi got two yellows against Bradford so Buxton will take his place. This right back situation is becoming a little interesting as Buxton and Wassi are keeping Wilson away from my 18 man squad. Tom Thorpe is still suspended so Derik Osede will start with Dervite getting on the bench. Þorsteinsson will start ahead of Clayton but this is just a rotation. Before the game Pratley dislocated his shoulder so he take up a seat in the physio’s room. I’m going to play Vela in his place and place Makaka on the bench. Can we make it 5 in 5??

No we couldn’t a scrappy 1-0 defeat left me with a bitter taste in my mouth on the long trip back from Bramell Lane. Defender’s Derik Osede and Battistelli put in another good display despite the result. Heading into my next game, Bolton confirm the capture of Scottish Under 21 international Charlie Telfer from Dundee United. The transfer will go thru when his contract runs out in July. I see Telfer as a direct replacement for current club captain Darren Pratley.

Wassi progress report.

Having signed Wassi on a free back in November, Wassi has gone on to make 11 starts in the league, in turn creating 3 goals for us in the process. He has been improving in training and is benefiting from first team games. Here how his stats now look;

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The last game in the busy month of February comes against Bristol Rovers, again it’s another chance for a few youth team prospects to make my 18 man team. This includes the possible first appearance of Tom Grivosti. Lets go take a quick look at the young centre back.

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Max Makaka has also been called in to the starting 11 to give Politic a much-needed rest.

A good performance to see out a busy February. A great 2-0 win with Clough getting another two goals provided us with another victory. Our next game against AFC Wimbledon will be the first in March.

In March I hope to push on and try to challenge Millwall to top spot. I will also keep you all updated on the progress of Van der Heyton as he has been in spectacular form for the club. I may also check out some players I have some interest in depending on where we eventually finish. I am already in talks with at least one player, keep your eyes peeled for any developments.

January, the stuff of nightmares

As 2017 comes in we receive the usual wave of incoming and outgoing transfer news and the player awards. Again one of our players, this time Van der Heyton grabs the Young Player of The Month award and grabbed himself second place in the Player of The Month competition. Politic also claimed the runner-up spot in the Young Player of The Month.

Transfer news

Mario completes £400,000 move to Bolton. Another hot prospect arrives at the Macron Stadium. Mario is seen as a poacher and will be looking to exploit any opportunity given to him. With Clough’s injury hit season the youngster will look to impress fans and coaches alike and muscle his way in to Shepherd’s starting 11. Lets check out his stats.

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A 5-0 drumming against Coventry was a disastrous start to the New Year. The only slight positive I can take is Darren Pratley managed to grab himself some game time. Lets move swiftly on to the FA Cup game against Port Vale, hopefully I will be able to get thru to the 4th Round but after the awful display against Coventry I’m not holding my breath. Before the game I sign 16-year-old Italian Eddie   Battistelli from Perguia Under 20’s. This guy has amazing potential, check him out below.

My only slight concern regarding Battistelli is that he would like to use the club as a stepping stone. Bearing this in mind I decided to add a £1,000,000 release clause in his contract meaning if he does leave I will stand to make a decent profit.

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Port Vale team news

The FA Cup 3rd round lets me change my team around slightly, both Mario and Battistelli start. Pratley continues on his quest for full fitness by taking his place on the bench.

A great 2-0 win see’s us continue to the 4th round. Goals from both Wilks and Mario see us thru. A solid performance from the back line after our 5-0 demolition. Battistelli had a brilliant debut too as the youngster started for the first time. The ‘Checkatrade’ Cup was next on the agenda. A shock defeat to Hartlepool saw me go out. This left me a little disappointed as I felt we could possibly have won this particular cup. At least I can concentrate more on the league as I am now only in the FA Cup. A great win against Swindon, another one of my promotion rivals leaves me in good spirits after two defeats in 3.

Transfer news

Jón Dagur Þorsteinsson signs from Fulham for £140,000. The versatile Icelandic winger has already been capped at Under 19 level for his country and is held in high regards both domestically and internationally. Þorsteinsson has been brought in to keep pressure on both Van der Heyton and Clayton and will look to capitalise on any opportunity given to him.  We take a sneak peek at his stats.

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Stuff of nightmares. That’s the only way to describe my next game. Another defeat this time by Oxford. a 5-1 defeat is bad enough, then add in the ‘Zach Clough’ factor and it goes from bad to worse. Zach Clough goes back to the physio’s table the only positive is we now have a ready-made youngster in the form of Mario to take his place. A 2-2 draw in my next game against Southend really dents my promotion challenge. Why wont this month hurry up and end? I’m still in the market for 1 more player, I would love to add another left back to my squad as unless I get promotion I can’t imagine I will be able to keep hold of loan signing Andrew Taylor so will be left short at the back, again. Next up Charlton at the Macron Stadium.

Slight changes to my line up after my defeat against Oxford. Battistelli, Wassi and Pratley all start for Bolton. I have also changed some of the player role’s to hopefully change the way we play. I have changed the central defender roles from central defenders to a ‘Ball Playing Defender and a Defensive Centre Back. I have also changed one of the central midfielder roles to Ball Winning Midfielder. These changes helped us to a 3-1 win against Charlton. Mario and Wilks got the goals for us. Unfortunately Van der Heyton got himself injured and was replaced by Þorsteinsson. He will also find himself in the starting 11 for the next game, an FA Cup 4th round tie against Stoke.

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Player watch.

Young Romanian midfielder Dennis Politic has got many a Bolton fan dribbling. Some impressive performances and contributing 3 goals to the team cause has both fans and pundits monitoring him closely. He has shown some improvements on the training ground too, hopefully this will continue and help him to reach his full potential.

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Next up is a visit to Stoke in the cup. Not overly pessimistic about this and not too concerned about the result.

Transfer News

Erik Sarmiento has signed for Bolton from Man City. The Spanish youngster has officially joined Bolton from Man City, the £200,000 deal see’s the youngster become the 4th signing of the January transfer window. The youngster has been brought in to be a replacement for loan signing Taylor.

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A spirited defeat against a strong Stoke side puts me out of the FA Cup too. I don’t see this as being too much of a problem as it will leave me distraction free for the rest of the season. With January drawing to a close and no more incoming transfers to announce we will catch up again in February. In February we will check in with our loan players Kujala and Purzycki to see how they are getting on. We will also have a catch up with youngsters Wassi and Everest to see how they are both progressing.

December Of Discontent

The start of December brings about awards galore for Zack Clough bagging himself both Player and Young Player of the month awards. I also came runner-up in the Manager of the Month competition. Having realised my loan signing Ameobi has only got 1 month to go until his contract expires and returns to Newcastle I seemingly face a slight problem. No cover for Van der Heyton. So this month I will look to find a suitable back up player in the attacking midfielder position. Again I would love to find some young talent so I will keep you all posted.

I’ve decided to let Kujala leave on loan. Even tho I have only just signed him I feel that his development would be best served playing first team football. I have agreed to loan him to Torquay United till the end of the season. This is also when his contract runs out so I will be keeping a close eye on his development to see if he is progressing enough to make any impact on my squad or the squad of the future.

The long trip south for the next round of the FA Cup against Plymouth. Jääskeläinen is the chosen shot stopper for this tie and will be looking to make an impression and possibly challenge Alnwick to the number 1 jersey. The only other change is Clayton as he will make way for hot prospect Dahlstrom.

A 4-2 victory takes me thru to the 3rd round. The prize, an away day with Port Vale. Next on the horizon tho are Bury coming to the Macron Stadium in the cup!!!

Bolton Wanderers vs Bury FC – Act 1 scene 2

Let’s set the scene. Last time out Bolton suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Bury. A disastrous moment for Bolton goalkeeper Ben Alnwick resulting in an own gaol, also the only goal of the game, just made the defeat even worse for Bolton fans. After the game one Bolton fan spoke to us. Here is what he had to say “What can I say about Bury. Lord they hate us. Even after we let them beg with collecting tins at the Macron. But do we care anymore? No.” This backs up the pure hatred between the two teams. We have had a sneak peek at the Bolton team sheet for the Bury fixture. We can only see one surprise inclusion. Wassi looks set to start make his full debut for Bolton. We will catch up with Wassi’s performance after the game.

So I’ve decided to call youngster Wassi to the starting 11, this maybe seen as a little risky with only an hour of first team football under his belt and all from the bench I see it as a risk worth taking. I believe that having played for both Man City and Bolton youth teams  and now my first team he will have a sense of rivalry towards Bury therefore spurring on his ambitions within this game. The only other change is between the sticks as Alnwick returns, hopefully to make amends for his own goal. Let’s see what happens.

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The result, all be an it a win was I left for home slightly disappointed with the performance. An unfortunate injury suffered by Dahlstrom in the 24 minute left me feeling a little nervous. Luckily Max Clayton was on the bench. 0-0 at half time. I switched Jack Earing for another youngster in the form of Max Makaka. An inspired switch as he scored a superb goal to put is in front. All was going well. Switched the unfortunate Clough for Navarro. Bury go on to snatch a dramatic equalizer in injury time. Penalties. We win 8-7. Tom Thorpe missed a penalty before Van der Heyton held his nerve to score the winner.

Wassi watch

Bolton youngster Yvan Wassi made his full debut tonight in this South Lancashire derby. Wassi took to the field with Buxton dropping to the bench. The youngster gave an average performance in this game but is still learning at this level. The analysis below shows his passes and his heat map throughout the game. I’m pleased with the amount he passed the ball about and also he seemed to be getting in the sort of positions I would be expecting of a player in his position.

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My next game against promotion rivals Gillingham played out as a 1-1 draw. The highlight of the game was a well delivered cross by Wassi resulting in Van der Heyton’s equaliser.

Before my game against Chesterfield a loan offer from Forest Green Rovers for youngster Purzycki comes in. Purzycki is another young player who’s development would be aided by regular first team football. He has agreed to go on loan till the end of the season, this again coincides with the players contract expiring so I will be monitoring his performances and development closely. I have decided to attend Forest Green Rovers vs Torquay United in the league, this will allow me to view both Kujala and Purzycki at the same time.

Chesterfield away gives me a chance to change things a little. Makaka and Honeyball come into the starting 11 and young Iranian Alex Samizadeh takes Navarro’s place on the bench. A nice victory including the Politic’s first two goals for the club, another good display from Wassi and a substitute appearance from Samizadeh. All in all a good victory and good performance’s from the players that came in. It’s also pushed us right up the league into second just 4 point behinds leaders Millwall. Could promotion be back on? chesterfield

Christmas came and went with the team having Christmas Day off, wasn’t I nice. Anyway the traditional Boxing Day fixture against Shrewsbury loomed. Unfortunately Clough and Clayton suffered slight injuries meaning they would both be missing for a few weeks. Striker wise this left me worried. Wilks and Clough had formed a really good partnership in recent weeks helping the team with both goals and assists. I decided to go with Samizadeh. Dahlstrom slotted straight in to the space left by Clayton. A great 3-1 with Anderson bagging his first league goal and a great double from Van der Heyton including a wonderful free kick.

We returned to training before a tough home tie against Scunthorpe. The squad stayed the same and we battled to a 0-0 draw with a determined display from the back four. This unfortunately just shows how much we need another striker for some much-needed cover as Clough has spent an unfortunate amount of time with our lovely physic. We only have to wait a few days for new striker ‘Mario’ to join us.We will take a proper look when he arrives in January.

In the January I want to get a couple of new faces in including a new winger as cover for Van der Heyton. As I aim to develop youth I will also look to sign a couple of hot prospects that we will aim to develop into first team players in the years to come. We are still in two cup competitions and doing much better in the league. We go into the new year looking to push on.

Winter Of Discontent – November

Here we are at the beginning of November, this instalment will show our progress in November and highlight a couple of our key youngsters. October ended on a high with our win against Port Vale. One of our players, youngster Mallik Wilks came runner-up in the League’s Player of the month and won the Young Player of the month. Congratulations Mallik, long may it continue.screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-00-21-57

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Breaking news

Sky sources close to Ex-Chelsea player Kevin Wright confirm he has signed a deal with Bolton Wanderers. #BWFC

The FA Cup first round is first up in November, personally I’m not too bothered by the cup as I would prefer to win the league than have a good cup run. I don’t feel as if either will happen for me this season tho. So bearing this in mind I’m going to change the squad round a little. Clough is out injured so Anderson comes in as my only forced change. I’m giving young defender Alex Honeyball his debut and a start for Purzycki.

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Through to the next round of the cup, a great 3-1 win at the Macron. Wilks, Clayton and Van der Heyton all getting on the score sheet with both Clayton and Van der Heyton providing the assists. I’ve said it before but Van der Heyton was an absolute bargain and if you’re reading this and thinking I’m in a similar position get him signed up. Next up is the ‘Checkatrade’ Cup and a tie against Cheltenham, the only changes to this team will be Ameobi to replace Van der Heyton as I want him fit for league games.

One to watch – Van der Heyton

Van der Heyton is a young Belgian winger who signed for Bolton Wanderers in August 2016 from Semi professional Belgian club Allemaal Samen Verbroedering Geel. Ven der Heyton initially signed on a 1 year contract although  the young winger recently secured himself a new contract that will keep him at the club till 2018. Below are his current attributes at the beginning of November

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Below are Van der Heyton’s key attribute changes since he joined in August. As shown below the youngster has improved in some key areas of his game. The general view of the coaching staff is that his development has been helped by him being given game time. At the moment his form is enough to keep Ameobi out of the squad. 

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This shows Van der Heyton’s changes in; Crossing, Dribbling, First Touch and Technique. The attributes that are highlighted are all key for wingers. 

Been pitted alongside Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup second round, it’s a long way to travel but hopefully it will be well worth it. I can see the big tie of the third round on the horizon. Hopefully not a case of famous last words.

Shocking, absolutely shocking. A surprise defeat to Cheltenham has left me feeling a little deflated after some good performances in both the league and cup. Lets hope the next round of the ‘Checkatrade’ cup is kind to us.

It wasn’t. A home game against Bury awaits us in the second round. The Macron stadium will be buzzing for this derby in the cup. Who will come away with bragging rights? Before any of this the small matter of Peterborough in the league.

Just been checking in on the new social feed, check this out!! Brilliant feature, I’m sure it will provide more gems over the coming months.social-feed1

Peterborough was a far better result, after going down 1-0 we came back to win 4-3. Goals from Wilks, Clayton, Clough and Dahlstrom proved to be too much for Peterbourgh’s attack to reply too. This has taken me up to 6th in the table too, the dark depths of 22nd seem to be behind me and I’m now only 4 points behind leaders Millwall. My next game is actually against Millwall so hopefully another good performance may take me within touching distance. My first choice attacking line of Clayton, Van der Heyton, Wilks and Clough will all be fit and ready to play. Also made the decision to offer Wassi and Kujala contracts at the club, all other trialist’s have been released.

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Transfer latest

Kujala signs for Bolton after a successful trail at the club.

Kujala, the 21-year-old Finnish player has successfully signed a year-long contract after a successful trail at the club. He arrives on a free after being released by Finnish club Jaro back in 2014. Kujala signs as a hot prospect with the potential to be a good player for Bolton. He will play mainly in for the Under 23’s as I monitor his development throughout the season. Below are his current attributes.

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Another good win against table topping Millwall helps to shoot me up the table into 4th place. Zack Clough scored another 2 goals taking his total to 5 for the season. Not to bad for a man who has only played 7 games. He is playing very well alongside strike partner Wilks between them racking up an impressive 20 goals.

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Heading into my next game against Coventry City former Bolton favourite Ivan Campo praises the recent performances of youngster Van der Heyton. I’ve also decided to play Kevin Smith, the young left back. More about him as the season progresses.

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Coventry didn’t go to plan and left the home fans disappointed. An own goal from shot stopper Alnwick was the only goal in the game. Smiths debut was nothing to write home about and his sending off late in the game  left me wishing I had stuck with Andrew Taylor. Moving on to our next game against Northampton I have some decisions that need to be made and quickly, this includes a change in midfield as Josh Vela has taken his seat in the physic’s room.

Transfer Latest

‘Yvan Wassi is a done deal, the young Englishman has re-joined Bolton on a free transfer. Joe Shepherd is said to delighted to have got this one over the line’ 

After some tough decision-making I am going to recall youngster Jack Earing to replace the injured Josh Vela, Andrew Taylor will slot back in at left back and Yvan Wassi will take a seat on the bench. As with the progress of Van der Heyton I think Wassi’s development maybe helped by some game time in this division.

Northampton provided the return to winning ways, a brace from Clough and a pleasing debut performance, all be it from the bench for Wassi. I have high hopes for this youngster. screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-15-29-20 On to December, see you there folks.


Is Shepherds Bolton dream over?

September started with the international break, well for Bolton anyway. Bearing this is mind it has put me right back down the league but I’ll have a game in hand. With the games coming thick and fast with MK Dons and Southend 2 days apart. Going to stick with the same squad for these games apart from the recall of Ameobi. Hopefully by the end of the month Zach Clough will be back in full training and be ready to be recalled. For now I’m going to stick with Wilks and Madine. Wilks has provided 2 vital goals in his short career as at BWFC.

Well before my game against MK Dons, former club favourite Kevin Davis gave me his backing believing I am the right man to turn around the teams fortunes. Hopefully MK Dons will provide the catalyst to a successful season. screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-19-03-36

Well a great win against promotion rivals MK Dons leads straight into a game against Southend. Wilks has a new strike partner (again) in aim to score more goals in my attack minded formation. Wilks scored again so is keeping his position but this time will be lining up next to another youngster by the name of Luca Navarro. The 16  year old has been in sensational form for the Under 19’s scoring in his last 4 games. Not paid to much attention to star ratings as he is potential 3 star rating.

So, Southend wasn’t brilliant with about 30 seconds to go 10-men Southend equalised and went back to Essex with a point. Gutted didn’t cover it, although Navarro got a debut goal which was pleasing. Next up was a dreaded away day to top of the table Walsall, never mind I thought. How wrong was I!!! A cracking 3-1 win including a first Bolton goal for James Henry and a first senior goal for Max Makaka. Just what the doctor ordered. Well done boys!!

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Breaking news

Bolton’s Liam Trotter placed on the transfer list as his time at the Macron Stadium draws to a close.   More info as we get it.

Jääskeläinen has signed a new contract and put pen to paper on a professional deal. I really like Jääskeläinen and hopefully he will develop into the club legend his father was. I’ve also put a bid in to sign a young striker from Villarreal B Mario. Another ‘totally’ stupid transfers as I have no idea about this player apart from he scored 24 goals in 52 games. I’ll keep you all updated.

September ends on a defeat against Rochdale but all in all it was a good month. Climbed from the relegation zone up to mid table. Still not my finest position with the Bolton team I have at my disposal but a great improvement, actually I hadn’t suffered defeat since my unplanned international break. My strike force is almost at full fitness with Zach Clough available from early October and both Navarro and Wilks providing both goals and assists things are looking up. Loan signing Tom Thorpe has put in some inspired performances at the heart of my defence which in turn lead him to be runner-up in September’s player of the month competition.


First game of October was against high-flying Oxford United. Came away with a draw and a lot to think about as again I threw away a lead. I still seem to be struggling in the right back area with neither Buxton or Wilson really cutting it for me. Another loan signing Andrew Taylor is currently keeping Moxy out of the squad and is helping to shore up my defence down the left.

Player to watch

Sky Sports ‘Hot Prospects’  catch up with newest sensation taking to the training ground with Bolton. Young Romanian Dennis Politic joined Bolton’s Under 19’s at the age of 16 as an academy player. The youngster, who plays in central midfielder has already been ear marked as a top class player by Bolton coach and favourite Kevin Davis. Politic is hopeful of being able to cement a place in the team for years to come and has already expressed his determination to do well for Joe Shepherd’s Bolton.

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Back to cup football in the form of the ‘Checkatrade’ Cup. What a defensive disaster, although my strike force was unstoppable…Luckily. Having been 3-1 up, to 4-3 down in stoppage time only to go on to win 5-4 wasn’t quite what I had expected against Chesterfield. Bolton go thru to the next round though with a game to spare. Two youngsters made their debuts and Anderson got his first Trotters goal and his first hat trick.

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With Swindon away seeming like another long away day the boys packed their bags for the trip. Making the trip away for the first time this season is Zach Clough, still not fully fit but fit enough for the bench. My new partnership’s in both attack and midfield could all possibly play together for the first time this season. Dennis Politic will be the new partner of Josh Vela at least until club captain Darren Pratley is fit again.screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-02-22-31

What a great result, a 4-0 away win. Two goals being scored by youngster WIlks and just hours after signing a new contract Van der Heyden scored both his 3rd of the season and our 3rd of the game. Although only got a potential star rating of 4, Van der Heyden seems to be a class act in this division contributing 3 goals and 5 assists in 8 games for the club. Defiantly the bargain of my first transfer window, worth every penny of the £6,000 he cost in August. The post match write-up also informed me Dennis Politic became League One’s youngest ever player aged just 16 years and 217 days.

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Oldham at home wasn’t a great game, tweaked my tactics to try to control the game, unfortunately that back fired as I spend most of the game 1-0 down. Clawed it back for a point through another Wilks goal. Despite the negatives this game produced it did see Max Clayton return from injury and helped in setting up Wilks 8th goal of the season. Just like Clough, Clayton wont be starting games or completing 90 minutes just yet as they continue their recovery to full fitness and match sharpness. Next up is Millwall, always a tasty affair and as they’re top of the table it will prove an interesting encounter on all fronts. Clough is fit enough for 90 minutes if needed, Clayton isn’t.

Well before the Millwall game, Clayton decides to voice his concerns over my management, luckily I managed to convince the other players that he was wrong. We also drew Swindon in the FA Cup.

Boys, you were brilliant!! We won the game 2-0 thanks to two goals and two lovely assists by Wilks and Henry respectively. The only blemish on this game was the ref’s decision to send of Derik Osede. Oh well, I’m going to celebrate my victory anyway.

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I’m going to try to move on quickly after a surprise defeat to local rivals Bury. Not good enough!!

After this game it left me determined to find a hot prospect to add to my squad in the right back area. Taking a slightly different approach to just bidding and hoping. I’ve offered 6 players 4 week trails to take a closer look. All the players are under 21 and of all different nationalities. First up is;

Jordi Kujala

21-year-old Finnish youngster Kuajala joins Bolton on trail after his contract at Jaro came to an end.

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Manny Kaguako

21-year-old Angolan youngster Kaguako joins Bolton on trail after his contract at Drogheda Utd came to an end.

Nathan Plews

21-year-old English youngster Plews joins Bolton on trail after his contract at Middlesborough came to an end.

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Yvan Wassi

This is slightly embarrassing but Wassi was released by Bolton last season. Thankfully I wasn’t in charge when this happened.

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Trialist up-date

Young Finnish defender was the only trail player to make an appearance for the Under 23’s this week. Unfortunately an unconvincing game lead to a poor match rating. Still not fully fit yet tho so the rest of his trail period maybe a better indication.

Disaster!! James Henry is sidelined for 9 months with a cruciate ligament problem. He’s only on loan for another 2 months tho. Before the start of the transfer window Max Clayton will be given a second chance and work his way back into my first team plans. Unfortunately for Clayton, I also have Dahlstrom who plays in the same position and although had a good start to his career at the Macron Stadium has only been appearing from the bench in recent weeks.

The last game of October couldn’t have gone any better, a brilliant 4-1 home win against Port Vale. Two goals from Clough and 2 from Wilks, could this be the perfect combination. Both my wide plays Clayton and Van der Heyton managed assists so all in all a pleasing performance.

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Jordy Diakubama

21-year-old French youngster Diakubama joins Bolton on trail after his contract at Ljungby IF came to an end. Unfortunately he isn’t available for the next Under 23’s game.

Trialist up-date

Kujala, Plews, Kaguako and Wassi all played in the 4-3 defeat to Crystal Palace. Unfortunately Wassi got injured in the 16th minute but was replaced by Plews. Both Kujala and Kaguako played in other positions natural to them. Plews was the most inspired trialist on the pitch today. Although I feel Wassi can’t be judged do to his early injury. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be to serious and will be able to complete his trail without missing too much football.

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 As the end of October draws nearer I have decided to offer both Kujala and Wassi contracts with the club. I feel both of these players have potential to be useful players for the Bolton team. Before we go lets take a closer look at Yvan Wassi and Jori Kujala.

Yvan Wassi – A closer look

Yvan Wassi is a 19-year-old English right back who started his career at Man City before joining Bolton Wanderers. In June 2016 Wassi was released from his Bolton Wanderers contract. In October 2016 Wassi re-joined Bolton on trail as current manager Joe Shepherd saw potential in the former City and Bolton youngster.

 

Wassi’s Key Attributes

Wassi’s key attributes for the defensive right role are;wassi-attributes-current

The above highlighted areas are key attributes for the role I would like Wassi to play. My only major concern regarding his attributes at the moment would be his extremely low determination which is something I will have to keep an eye on. Hopefully thru training I will be able to help him with his this side of his game. I will keep you all updated on how he is progressing. From now on in I will be doing a month by month update monitoring my youth prospects alongside Bolton’s progress.