“It Is Completely Different” – Bolton Wanderers Boss Explains Striker Decision

Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt expects striker Aaron Collins to come into his own next season after failing to nail down a regular starting berth since his arrival on transfer deadline day.

The Trotters were in the market for attacking recruits during the winter window and eventually landed the 26-year-old from League One rivals Bristol Rovers for a fee believed to be around £750,000. He made his debut just two days later, setting up Zac Ashworth’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Barnsley just moments after his introduction from the substitutes bench.

That remains his only goal contribution at his new club, although his time on the field has been limited. He started the games against Wycombe Wanderers and Charlton Athletic earlier this month but has had to make do with just 25 minutes of action in the subsequent two fixtures.

Having penned a three-and-a-half-year contract, it is clear that Evatt sees the player as someone who will be at the club for some time to come. Only Peterborough United have scored more League One goals than Bolton this season, so it was always going to be a fight to immediately break into the first team setup.

Ahead of tonight’s clash with Wigan Athletic, the 42-year-old explained his plan for the former Welsh youth international, claiming that he views him as more of a long-term signing rather than a short-term fix:

“I said when we signed Aaron that this is not a short-term signing, this is one for long term,” Evatt told Bolton News. “This was a great opportunity to bring him in and I think we will see the biggest benefit of that next season.

“Of course, we need him to play his part this season, but it is completely different what we do here compared to what he had been used to at Bristol Rovers.

“He doesn’t need the unnecessary pressure. All of the players we have signed have improved for the second season after a pre-season and I would expect that to be the case with Aaron.

“For now, as much we can, we need to get him up to speed. With the way the fixture list is, it is challenging to get time on the grass, get the coaching detail into him.

“Once we do, I think we will see him fly. He is a really talented player, a good person, he has fit into the group really well, but at the moment he is still in that integration period.”

Bolton missed the opportunity to return to the automatic promotion spots on Saturday when they suffered a 4-1 hammering at Blackpool. They sit level on points with Derby County, although do possess a game in hand.

Writer’s View

The handling of this situation from the manager is smart, as it allows Collins ample opportunity to settle into his new surroundings without the added pressure of having to hit the ground running. Of course, that is easy to do when you are blessed with the attacking talent in which Bolon have at their disposal.

Although the attacker may feel a little frustrated with his lack of game time, Evatt’s words are a huge compliment. He is building a side with the Championship in mind, and the fact that the club paid as much as they did for his services show that they have the faith that he will be a huge hit at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.

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