Bolton Wanderers’ Dapo Afolayan could cause ‘carnage’ in new role in team

IAN Evatt says Dapo Afolayan’s success as a central striker has given him some food for thought.

Last season’s top scorer has flitted between the left side of attack and the number 10 role in his two seasons with Bolton – but a stellar showing against Watford whilst partnering Dion Charles up front this week has opened up new possibilities ahead of the League One campaign.

Afolayan played as a central striker in the 6-0 rout of Sunderland at the start of the year and has started his career the same way in a prolific spell at non-league Solihull Moors.

Evatt has Amadou Bakayoko, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Elias Kachunga pushing for a starting spot alongside the in-form Charles at Ipswich Town on the opening day of the season, and admits Afolayan has now offered another option.

“We are just looking at things,” he said of the side that faced Watford at their Colney training base. “We can always play a double pivot in midfield and a 10. This time we went on pivot and two eights but we’ve got that flexibility to be able to do that.

“We have midfielders who are probably suited to that eight role rather than a 10.

“Dapo, when I looked back at last season, I think his best games in the second half of the season were as a nine, so there was at home for example, him and Dion caused carnage.

“I just wanted to revisit it. I’m not saying that’s what it’s going to look like or how it’s going to stay, but it’s just something to give us those options to have a look at.”

Fans could get a clue as to Evatt’s thinking for the new season this weekend, with the Whites travelling to Carlisle United for their penultimate friendly game.

With a large travelling contingent of fans expected in Cumbria, Evatt hopes his side can build on a fine performance against Watford to send them home happy again.

“It’ll be a completely different test and challenge,” he said. “We have had three training ground behind closed doors games now which offer completely different tests and challenges to when there is a stadium and fans involved.

“I just want to see us progress again and take another step forwards and really see the fruits of all the hard work on the training pitch. I think we are seeing that game by game now.”

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