Dapo Afolayan’s encouraging verdict on Bolton Wanderers next season & future amid transfer links

Dapo Afolayan believes Bolton Wanderers can grow as a team with him in it next season as the club aims for the top six at least and says he does not read into things that are said about him amid reported interest from other sides.

The 24-year-old attacker has had a great season in front of goal, finding the back of the net 14 times for Wanderers this campaign and has been the club’s top scorer.

He has been up there with the best players this season for Wanderers after joining from Premier League side West Ham United last summer.

READMORE: Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt on Cheltenham Town, summer transfer plans & injury latest

With his performances out on the pitch he has inevitably seen interest from other sides, with Fulham and Cardiff reportedly looking at Afolayan, though the Bluebirds have played down any links.

The Wanderers attacker insists he does not read into what is spoken or written about him though and believes Bolton can grow with him, as he believes the Whites have the potential to compete with the top teams in the division next season.

He said: “I don’t really worry about it. I don’t read into a lot of the things that are said.

“I know how I am performing, the manager knows how I am performing, and if he has an issue with anything then he will tell me honestly. We are very, very open with each other and that is one thing that has helped me improve massively. He has always told me areas of my game that I can improve.

“And that way when I do, and hopefully if I do, step up to the next level as a player then I can always perform. I think it is necessary.

“If you look at our results since January and our performances, I think we have lost three in 19 and played against some big teams.

“We have shown we have more than enough to compete with those top teams and now it is about us finding that consistency because personally, and as a squad, we have had too many times where we have been very, very good, and then below pair.

“We need to be consistently good and then add those performances like a 6-0 against Sunderland. That is what a team that wins the league looks like.”

Afolayan believes scoring and end product has been his biggest improvement this campaign from the previous one and has 20 goal involvements with assists included.

Wanderers are poised for a top 10 finish this season, a good achievement after winning promotion last season, but have fallen short of reaching the play-offs.

Though there is frustration on that front, Afolayan believes Wanderers can end the campaign on a high and take that momentum into next season as they aim for the top six at least.

He said: “I think this season I have improved most in terms of an end product.

“I have got 20 goal involvements this year and that’s 17 more than last year, so that has improved especially.

“I am making better decisions on the ball, when I am dribbling, when to shoot and find the right moments.

“It’s been a mixture. We started quite well finding our feet in the league. We played against some top sides early on and felt like we held our own. We got quite unfortunate with spells of injuries and things like that in the camp.

“The middle part of the season didn’t go to plan and then in January when we got more players in and we changed shape as well to help us be more solid, the season has been good since then.

“I think we’ve lost three of the last 19. We were doing something right and it’s going to help us build onto next season.

“I think for us as a squad there is always that disappointment. We knew what our target was this season and whenever you don’t achieve your targets you are disappointed, but it also gives us an opportunity to learn from this season and take that forward into next year to improve on that and improve our league position.

“I think we’ve targeted especially the last four to win them and again finish the season with as many points as possible. We always knew we had those three tough fixtures in a week and we wanted to come out of all those unbeaten and we have and against some top sides as well.

“With things not going our way, especially the Portsmouth game with the three of us (Afolayan, Ricardo Santos and Kyle Dempsey) coming off injured and being missing for the Sheffield Wednesday game, we see what they’re doing and they’re flying at the minute.

“They couldn’t beat us here so I think that is the positives from it. I’m looking forward to the next two games. We’re just going to keep going and keep building on a platform for next year.

“We’re all in it together really. We’re all pulling in the same direction and me being top goalscorer, whether it’s me, whether it’s Baka (Amadou Bakayoko), it dosen’t really matter at the end of the day because we haven’t made the play-offs or the top two positions so for us, that’s what we’re aiming for.”


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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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