Bolton Wanderers defend on Wales ambitions, season form & gives Fulham loanee transfer wish

Declan John believes a change to wing-back has helped show what he can do for Bolton Wanderers as he hopes Marlon Fossey returns to the club next season.

The season is nearing its conclusion at Wanderers and the Whites are poised for a top 10 finish in their first campaign back in League One after achieving promotion to the division last season.

The Welshman has played 42 times in all competitions this season, scoring four goals and notching seven assists in that time.

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Since mid-January, the former Swansea City man has lined up as a wing-back, a move which has seen the defender able to express himself better in the final third of the pitch.

He feels that he has seen a resurgence in his form which he believes dipped in the first half of the campaign.

John formed an exciting partnership with Fulham loanee Marlon Fossey on the opposite flank, something which was cut short after the January transfer window signing suffered a torn meniscus which ended his season prematurely.

And John hopes Fossey can return to the club from the Cottagers for next season as he believes the foundations are in place for a push next season.

He told the club matchday programme: “Perhaps going into the start of the season I think I had a little bit of a dip in form.

“I had quite a few things going on off the pitch that were tough to deal with and I found it difficult.

“There were bigger things going on than football but once I overcame that, I was getting back to playing games and my form picked up after Christmas and it’s been like that ever since, I think.

“Perhaps changing to the wing-back role has been really good for me because I like to attack, get forward, create chances and score goals if I can.

“I think I’ve got double figures (for goals and assists) for the season, which was my aim at the start so I’m really happy about that.

“It gave me that license to get forward and be higher up the pitch receiving the ball.

“I have done that with other clubs but I’d say the gaffer here is the best I’ve worked with and it’s brought the best out of me.

“Marlon was superb when he came in. All the boys and myself were gutted when he got injured. Hopefully, we can try and get him back next season if we can.

“At the turn of the year we brought in that extra bit of class and we had more pace in the team and more power with Baka playing more and Jon coming in up front.

“I think with the signings we brought in, we’ve got a benchmark to kick on for next season.

“We’ve got a good foundation there and I think we’ve got a good squad moving forward.”

John first arrived at Wanderers last season on loan from Swansea where he was playing under-23s football at the time and frozen out of the first team picture by then manager Steve Cooper.

The defender believes he needed the move to Wanderers and believes there is a bright future at the club, having put pen to paper on a three-year deal last summer after his Swansea contract expired.

John has seven Wales caps to his name after making his debut in 2013, with his last appearance coming in 2019.

And he is intending to keep working hard and see where it takes him in a bid to get back in the international scene.

He said: “Coming in last January I really needed that. I was playing under-23s football at the time (at Swansea) so it was just good to be back in a first-team picture.

“Getting promoted was brilliant, and the gaffer and the players want to push on again next season and hopefully get promoted again if we can.

“Over the last few years the team has really picked up. We’ve got some top quality players in that squad.

“With the younger players we’ve got coming through, it’s only going to be good for the future.

“My last cap was a few years ago now so I’ll have to keep working hard and see what happens.

“I’ll always be supporting them and I have some mates in the camp. You never know, all you can do is keep your head down, keep working hard and focus on the task in hand.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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