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WANDERERS will draft some of their youth teamers into the squad for tomorrow night’s Papa John’s Trophy clash with Fleetwood (7pm kick-off).
The likes of Arran Pettifer, Mitch Henry and Max Conway could get game time at the UniBol as Ian Evatt looks to give some of his first team stars extra rest.
Competition rules state that Bolton must use at least four ‘qualified’ players which include anyone who has played in the previous game against Cheltenham, anyone who has played 40-plus first team games or anyone on loan from a category one academy.
We are going to have to make changes because people need a rest and we don’t want to break anyone else down,” he said.
“We have seen bits from the younger ones who have come to train with us in the last couple of weeks, but are they ready to play at that level consistently? No, is the honest answer.
“It is part of the rebuild phase but it is Sod’s Law that the season we bring in a reserve team we have no players to play in it because everyone is injured or they are playing in the first team.
“Moving forward I think the gap between the Under-18s and the first team needs to close. It is a big ask for a young player to make that leap into a squad that is trying to do things the right way. We need to bridge it and whether that is Under-23s or reserve team football it is something we need to look at.
“At the moment we have to get them involved. They are improving and there are glimpses of talent there but we need to refine it.
“We don’t have a lot of time but we’ll throw them in at the deep end and hopefully a few of them will swim.”
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Wanderers have several players on the injury list but none are expected to feature tonight.
Evatt is reluctant to say whether any could be back for the League One game at Fleetwood in a week’s time.
“We have got players who are progressing well in their rehab but, for now, I don’t want to put any date on when they will be back,” he said.