Bolton Wanderers are close to announcing the new B Team boss, as reported by The Bolton News.
The Trotters are flying high in League One, but manager Ian Evatt is already planning for the future. They’re in the hunt for a B Team boss, a level that sits between their Under 18 side and the senior squad, designed to help ease players into senior football.
The role has become available due to an internal promotion – Matt Craddock stepped up to the first team staff earlier this month, which means academy boss Dave Gardiner is temporarily in charge of the B Team. However, Evatt feels there are options for Craddock’s replacement, both externally and from within the club.
“The good thing is that the process unearthed applicants that we feel could be a good fit for that role,” Evatt told The Bolton News.
“It could start a conveyor belt of coaching talent, and we’re having conversations now with some of the applicants behind the scenes on how they feel about the B Team position.
“We will allow internal candidates to apply too, because that is the way we want to work. We want to promote from within.
“Hopefully, we should have an announcement in the next couple of weeks on that.”
The setup is designed to ensure young players coming through the ranks at Bolton are given ample exposure to football once they leave the academy setup. Evatt believes it is important to ensure that the club promotes the same style of football at all levels, be it Under 18s, B Team, or senior squad, which could help shape their decision.
The scheme has been successful in acting as a catalyst for some young players to ascend to the first-team setup – Sonny Sharples-Ahmed made his debut in the EFL Trophy after coming through the system. Other players, such as Conor Lewis, were also on the bench for that game.
The B Team also paves the way for young players to head out on loan, as in the case of 20-year-old Gerald Sithole. He was released by Gillingham, signed by Bolton and has spent the last two seasons in the B Team. However, he has spent time on loan with Altrincham as he hunts a return to senior football.
As well as a route to the first team, the ‘Botlon Way’ is something that Evatt believes should be the focus of the B Team, and the new appointment,
“I want everyone to recognise that this is what Bolton stand for; this is the way they play,” he added, whose team are among the favourites for promotion to the Championship this season.
“This is a brand, a philosophy, identity. I want that to run right the way through the club, from the academy teams right up to the first team.
“I think we are heading in the right direction with all of those things.”
Bolton are a team on the up, there’s no doubt about that at all. They’re doing well in League One, and they have a clear style of play and identity on the field. They play lovely football but have physical strength, and if the young players they produce are in the same mould as those they have now, the B Team will be a huge success.
It does sound like the new B Team coach could come from within. You have to wonder if perhaps they’re looking to have a succession plan beyond Evatt, should he ever leave? It’s akin to the old Liverpool boot room but perhaps styled more on the Ajax and Barcelona models from the continent.