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Player to Watch: Tyrone Mears

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Will Tyrone Mears get first team football this year and how important is he to Bolton Wanderers?

Mears in action last season.
Mears in action last season.
Michael Steele

After joining in July 2011 with fellow Burnley teammate Chris Eagles for a combined fee of £3m, Tyrone Mears has had a turbulent time at the Reebok. Just a week after agreeing terms with Owen Coyle's team on a three-year deal Mears suffered a broken leg in one of his first training sessions. His career so far has been plagued by injury and some poor performances. He’s never established himself at full back with Sam Ricketts owning the spot for the past few seasons, but could this all change for Tyrone?

After Sam Ricketts’ departure to Wolves and Joe Riley’s latest anterior cruciate ligament injury, side-lining the young defender for months, this has opened the door for the one-time Jamaican international (kinda, Mears thought he qualified through his father but it was later confirmed after one cap that he was not eligible).

At the age of 30, he’s not the youngest but he has plenty of Championship experience. Mears is currently second-choice behind Alex Baptiste but after regularly featuring in Dougie’s pre-season plans, he may be in contention for a strong season.

Combined with the Wanderers’ lack of depth and the grueling championship schedule he’s bound to play a part in Bolton's promotion push. Mears' play is a divisive issue among Bolton fans who seem unable to decide just where Mears fits in the grand scheme of things.

Tyrone Mears has a point to prove this season. If he fails to impress we’ll probably see him slip through the door at the Reebok. His contract expires at the end of the season.

Not only is this season important for the club but especially for Mears, hopefully he can challenge Alex Baptiste for a regular starting spot and prove why Owen Coyle brought him to the club.