Wanderers considering foreign recruitment next season.
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Wanderers considering foreign recruitment next season.

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WANDERERS continue to plan for abroad recruiting next season, despite the threat of the play-offs.

Ian Evatt has acknowledged that the club has continued to legislate for two alternative possibilities in recent weeks, looking into and researching prospective summer signings in League One and the Championship.

Part of that endeavor has included expanding scouting and data networks in other European leagues, which may open up new markets for the team in the future.

The second half of this season has seen assistance from data advisors Ludonautics, a company founded by former Liverpool director of research Ian Graham, to the current recruitment and analysis department formed by Chris Markham.

Markham’s position was renamed sports director from technical performance director late last year, and Ludonautics’ involvement was verified with the issuance of B class shares in parent company Football Ventures (Whites) Limited.

Evatt claims Markham has worked hard to ensure the club has options in the transfer market regardless of how the next several weeks play out.

“There have been a lot of different scenarios we have had to plan for, and Chris in particular is doing well keeping my head clear for what is important,” he told the news outlet. “I have a lot of faith in him and the Ludonautics team working together behind the scenes.”

“They are looking to give us the best possible options, regardless of how this season ends.

“We have seen with Aaron Collins that when we do that diligent work and make signings that they can pay off, and we’re delighted with how Aaron has been playing since he came here.

“If you look at our squad now and the value of it, I would say the whole thing has increased tenfold, so I believe we are mostly getting it right, and I am confident that we will get it right again in the summer.

“Now obviously the scenario we are in, we have to keep many plates spinning, but I trust those guys to make that happen and get me involved when I need to be involved.”

Wanderers had no scouting network when Evatt joined the club four years ago, with the department gradually disintegrating under previous ownership and being replaced by the ill-fated appointment of Tobias Phoenix as head of football operations.

After Markham was placed and a solid partnership was created, Bolton began to gather traction, and a particularly successful January window in 2021 fueled a late push for promotion from League Two.

Evatt now has his sights set on another Championship promotion, and he believes Markham and Ludonautics will continue to play an important part in recruitment.

However, the Bolton manager believes that the development gained over the last four years should not be disregarded or understated, regardless of the highs and lows the play-offs may bring. “Chris is the Sporting Director, we work together on the football department and we are very aligned in our thought process,” he said.

“Obviously, I am the head of the football department, so everything ultimately falls to me, but Chris’ work on recruitment and performance has been simply wonderful.

“The team he developed, and Ludonautics is now adding to it, there are lots of exciting things occurring behind the scenes in terms of abroad recruitment and work that will not be ready until the summer.

“I believe this is an exciting time for Bolton Wanderers. We have gotten this club to the point where it is truly poised to take off again. There has been a lot of hard effort put into it, and we should not dismiss it.

“From the club I joined four years ago to where it is now, kudos goes to everyone – Chris and his crew, the board and Sharon, and the community as a whole.

“I think sometimes when you are involved in a promotion fight and everyone wants it so much you can lose sight a little bit of what has already been achieved.

“It is important that we look at that with pride. You even look at the Portsmouth game, I walked away from that just so proud of our football club. I know we didn’t win the game – and I desperately wish we had – but to see a crowd like that, a game of that magnitude, from where we have come from, it is something that should be celebrated.”

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