Why Bolton Wanderers can't keep Conor Bradley's talents a secret

·2-min read
Why Bolton Wanderers can't keep Conor Bradley's talents a secret
Why Bolton Wanderers can't keep Conor Bradley's talents a secret

Wanderers are not doing the best job keeping Conor Bradley’s talents hidden under the proverbial bushel.

The Liverpool loanee has received rave reviews in his three outings thus far for the Whites and grabbed yet more headlines with a thunderous strike as a second-half substitute against Salford City in the Carabao Cup.

Ian Evatt admits he had been hoping to minimise the attention lavished upon the Northern Ireland international but is fighting a losing battle because of his early season form.

He said: “I am trying to manage expectations with him, including his own, and trying to keep everyone’s feet on the ground… And then he goes and does something like that,” he said of the 25-yard strike on Tuesday night.

“It is kind of hard to give him a break. He is a talented lad, and we are pleased for him.”

Tuesday night’s goal-laden performance was perfect preparation for this weekend’s game at Port Vale, with Evatt able to make eight changes to the side which had beaten Wycombe Wanderers 3-0 a few days earlier.

With teams able to make up to five substitutions this season, Evatt hopes he will be able to spread playing time more evenly to ensure his players remain at peak physical condition.

Wanderers have used 22 different players in their first three games in league and cup, which the Bolton boss expects to be a sign of things to come.

“The five subs rule is really going to aid us this season, I believe, because we have got such a strong squad,” he said. “And if we can keep players fit and healthy then those extra subs are going to be huge for us to maintain the energy levels and the high press.

“It is a good weapon for us to have. I am looking forward to this season.”

Wanderers have also lodged an appeal with the Football Association against George Thomason’s red card, picked up for a foul on Luke Bolton late in the game on Tuesday night.

The young midfielder was sent off for the first time in his professional career despite protestations in the Bolton camp that he had won the ball fairly.

His disappointment was clear – but Evatt is confident there will be no lasting damage, regardless of the outcome of the disciplinary appeal.

He said: “I told George after the game that we are really proud of him. He is a young player and showed up really well, so I said not to let it spoil his night because it hasn’t spoiled ours. These things happen in football and it can really test your character and mental strength.

“But George is a wonderful young man with a great family behind him so he will soon get over that.”