With the news that Ali Al Habsi has packed up and moved to the pie factory next door comes a bit of encouragement to most Bolton Wanderers fans. It's being widely reported that long time Wanderers servants Ricardo Gardner and Jussi Jaaskelainen have agreed extended deals at the Reebok. Neither are exactly fresh in terms of age but are willing to prove that they still have what it takes.
Gardner's season was pretty limited by a knee injury that kept him at bay for a large part of the year. As part of his rehabilitation, he spent some time at Preston where it looks as though he had impressed Big Sam who tried luring him to West Ham in hopes of getting the band back together in the Championship. Gardner rejected the offer in hopes of negotiating an extension with Bolton. When he finally came back into the first team, Gardner impressed. Both Matilda and I had said that Gardner had not really put a foot wrong in his Premiership time this season. As a result of this and Gardner reportedly taking a pay cut, Owen Coyle decided to figure him into future plans and extended the Jamaican's contract by a year to see him spend 13 straight campaigns with Bolton.
jussi has just signed on for a further two seasons. While he looked his age at times last year, Coyle still sees the big Finn as his number one keeper. As a result of Jussi's extension, Bolton accepted a £4 million bid for Ali Al Habsi who was likely due to be best friends with Robbie Blake on the bench for another. Hopefully last season was an off year for Jaaskelainen and he gets a bit more spring in his step for the upcoming season. While Adam Bogdan is a very competent back up, he isn't ready yet for a full time starting job. The lad needs just a bit more polish.