Ian Evatt admits Bolton Wanderers will miss Conor Bradley this weekend against Accrington Stanley but believes Lloyd Isgrove has proved he can be an alternative to the Liverpool loanee.
Isgrove made his first start since late November last night in the 3-0 win over Leeds United's under-21s in the Papa Johns Trophy. The winger lined up at right wing-back after overcoming his injury problems which has kept him out of first team action for nearly a year.
The Wanderers man is a candidate to be at right wing-back this Saturday when the Whites travel to take on Accrington. They will be aiming to transfer their cup form into the league and win their first League One match in four.
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But they will travel to the Wham Stadium without the services of Liverpool youngster Bradley. The Northern Ireland international is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the last League One outing against Barnsley.
Isgrove is an option to fill the void left by Bradley's absence this weekend and Evatt believes the returning player is a candidate to do so. Though Bolton will miss Bradley, Evatt believes it is a chance for someone else to step into the breech.
Evatt told the Manchester Evening News : “He’s (Isgrove) excellent and I think he’s suited to the way we play with wing-backs and that role. Conor has been outstanding so far this season and really consistent. I don’t know how he’s managed to get five yellow cards and not make a tackle yet, but it happens.
“We’re going to miss him on Saturday, no doubt, but it’s a chance for somebody else to step in.
“It has been a long road back for him (Isgrove) but he’s been doing really well in training. He’s got back up to speed quite quickly. Him and Josh (Sheehan) both missed significant periods last season and they’re never easy to get going again and probably having the squad we’ve got has enabled us to give them a bit of extra time.
“It’s frustrating for those two at times, because they want to be back involved ASAP, but we’ve been able to bring them on slowly and eventually they’ve got fully up to speed and I think we saw the fruits of those tonight.”
Fellow Liverpool loanee Owen Beck made his second appearance for Bolton last night, coming off the bench in the second half to play at left wing-back. Evatt believes the showing was his best for the club so far as he hopes the former Familicao loanee will progress further now.
He said: “When he first came from Portugal he wasn’t quite where we needed him to be physically and because we’ve got such a good squad, we were able to bring him on slowly. I thought that’s the best I’ve seen from him since he’s been here in the second half tonight and hopefully he’ll progress from that.”
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