Bolton Wanderers have drawn up a three-man shortlist as they look to add to their attacking talent before transfer deadline day, according to journalist Darren Witcoop.
The Trotters have their sights firmly set on the League One title this season and came within two minutes of replacing leaders Portsmouth at the top on Saturday. With Ian Evatt’s side on the way to a comfortable victory at Carlisle United, Pompey needed a late penalty to secure the three points at Port Vale, but the Hampshire outfit are looking over their shoulders.
Bolton are just two points behind in second but have two games in hand on their promotion rivals. As such, they are looking at adding to their squad before the end of the window on Wednesday to give themselves the best possible opportunity of returning to the Championship.
It was reported yesterday that Bristol Rovers had rejected an initial £600,000 bid for striker Aaron Collins, with the Gas valuing their star at closer to £1 million. However, the 26-year-old missed the weekend’s 3-1 win over Oxford United, adding to the speculation that he could be about to depart the Memorial Stadium.
According to Witcoop though, Bolton have two other names on their shortlist should they fail to land the former Forest Green Rovers man. Huddersfield Town’s Danny Ward has also appeared on Evatt’s radar, as has Niall Ennis of Blackburn Rovers.
Bolton looking to bolster their attack this week. Interest in Bristol Rovers striker Aaron Collins with initial £550,000 bid rejected. Huddersfield’s Danny Ward, close to full fitness after injury, another potential target along with Blackburn’s Niall Ennis. #bwfc #htfc #brfc
— Darren Witcoop (@DarrenOWitcoop) January 29, 2024
Ward has had his fair share on injury problems this season, making just 10 appearances for the Terriers. His last outing came in mid-December, although Witcoop claims that the 33-year-old – who has made 253 appearances for Huddersfield over two separate spells – is nearing a return to full fitness.
Ennis only joined Blackburn last summer on a four-year deal from Plymouth Argyle, but has struggled to nail down a regular starting berth at Ewood Park. Bolton’s interest is widely known, with reports emerging last week that he could head to the Toughsheet Community Stadium on a temporary deal. It has also been claimed that League One rivals Blackpool could be interested.
Dion Charles continues to lead the line for the Greater Manchester outfit, scoring 17 times across all competitions. However, the 28-year-old is still attracting attention from clubs in the division above, despite only penning a fresh contract last summer.
With Portsmouth’s recent blip in form, Bolton smell blood and must be favourites to be crowned League One champions in May. Ian Evatt isn’t prepared to rest on his laurels though and sees a new striker as a priority to share the load at the top end of the pitch.
The 42-year-old will also know that injuries can strike at any point, and he will need quality cover should the worst happen. Whilst Collins appears to be the primary target, the fee they are willing to shell out indicates that he is a player that will be drafted straight in to the starting lineup. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Trotters sign two strikers this week.