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Bolton and "three quarters of the Championship" interested in Alex Baptiste

Harry Engels

With much of the attention currently directed at Bolton's Jermaine Beckford bid, it's easy to forget that there are other irons in the fire for Dougie Freedman and the Trotters. With a wealth of options in the center of midfield and a bit of depth in the center of defense, the team really needs to shore up the wing options both going forward and at the back.

Speaking last week, Dougie Freedman emphasized the need to add in those areas:

"It's not about spending the biggest money, it's about getting the right targets. I have planned for that and I think it's always crucial to do that.

"I think I'd like to balance the squad up a little bit. With the amount of centre-halves we've got and centre-midfielders we have I just need to balance it up in the wider areas and that's what we're going to do."

With Marcos Alonso likely on the outs, Sam Ricketts arguably going down, Tyrone Mears' ongoing illness, and Joe Riley's injury issues, Bolton Wanderers options for the fullback slots are thin.

One of the names now being thrown in the ring for a defensive signing is that of Blackpool's Alex Baptiste. The 27-year-old has been at Blackpool since 2008 and has made 187 appearances for the Tangerines in all competitions. Baptiste, a right-footed defender, could be a versatile option at the back for Bolton with his ability to play both in the center of defense as well as out the wings.

Baptiste is out of contract at the end of June and move on a free transfer. The Tangerines have already released 13 players this season while contract talks with the defender are still ongoing. Bolton are far from the only interested party. Derby County manager Nigel Clough spoke highly of Baptiste in the Derby Telegraph:

"We are interested, along with I would think three quarters of the Championship and maybe one or two clubs in the Premier League.

"There are very few good defenders out of contract at the moment and so there will be a lot of interest in him, so some stiff competition.

"He is probably the pick of the defenders available at the moment.

"We will wait on him but not too long because we'll need to know reasonably quickly. If we cannot get him, we will move on."