Bolton Wanderers search for a new manager continued today, with Sam Ricketts emerging as the bookies favourite.
However, Ricketts’ current club Shrewsbury Town have confirmed via the Shropshire Star that there has been no approach for their boss, who led them to 15th in League One last season. Ricketts penned a two-and-half year contract in December 2018 with Salop and, if he were to step down, would take the role at the club he represented 113 times across three season, including appearances in the Premier League.
Whilst the Trotters have indicated they would be willing to pay compensation for the right candidate, there are plenty of possible names on the list that would not require financial outlay. They include Nigel Clough, Chris Powell, Simon Grayson, Dean Holden and Gary Bowyer. Ian Evatt, who has led Barrow back into the Football League, is one other favourite, whilst former Bolton ace Kevin Nolan has also been linked with the role.
37-year-old Nolan has been out of work since 2018 after he left Notts County. He took them to the League Two play-offs in 2017/18 but left six months into the new season as they slumped towards the bottom of the table and, ultimately relegation.
Bolton will begin next season in League Two, only the second time in their history that they’ve been in the basement division.
Bolton have to get this right; Keith Hill’s departure was perhaps a little of a surprise here, relegation had all-but been confirmed from the first couple of weeks and Hill had the experience of the bottom division, as did assistant David Flitcroft. The Trotters now need to make the sort of choice that represents a step forward, away from the spectre of financial gloom and of course, successive relegations.
Ian Evatt is untried in the Football League, but that shouldn’t be a barrier to getting a job. Chris Powell did remarkably well with Southend until his squad was decimated by injury and he paid the ultimate price. Sentiment might lead to Nolan, or even Ricketts, but sentiment has no place in these decisions.
Personally, I feel Chris Powell would be a great choice. He’s up and coming, and the collapse at Southend this season demonstrates some of the pressures he may have been working under.