With the World Cup well underway and the fixtures for next season being announced next week, Dougie Freedman and his scouting team have been working tirelessly trying to secure next season's new recruits.
One of the positions that he may need to strengthen in is upfront. Freedman's previous acquisitions don't seem to have worked as planned, with Jermaine Beckford and Craig Davies failing to live up to expectations, with the latter having endured a goal-drought whilst at the 'Macron' for the start of the season.
With the fan-base hoping for either Joe Mason or Lukas Jutkiewicz to make a return to the club, does Tom Eaves have a future at Bolton Wanderers?
Merseyside-born Eaves, 22, has endured a turbulent time whilst with the Whites. Having started at Crew Alexandra's well renowned academy he later moved to Boundary Park and was a product of their centre of excellence. He went on to make 15 league appearances for the Latics although he only captured the Whites' attention whilst featuring against them in a pre-season friendly.
The teenager who was substituted on against the Trotters netted three times in half-an-hour either side of the break, as Owen Coyle's Bolton side were embarrassed, losing 3.0 at Boundary Park.
This impressive performance prompted Owen Coyle to swoop in and sign the youngster for an undisclosed fee which saw Eaves sign a 3-year deal with the club, but his development has slumped ever since. A series of injuries have halted Eaves' progress as he's failed to play regularly, having only made 3 substitute appearances during the latter stages of the 2011-12 season.
This prompted the Bolton hierarchy to loan him out to 3 football league clubs, in which his success varied. He enjoyed a 3 month-spell at Bristol Rovers in 2012 which saw him hit the net 7 times in 15 appearances, which included a brace against their local Rivals, Torquay United, a the Memorial Stadium.
After this Eaves returned to the club and put in some very impressive performances in various youth team gamesand training sessions, although he was later loaned out to League 1 outfit, Shrewsbury Town. Again, Eaves enjoyed success with New Meadow, as he scored 6 goals in 10 games. He even scored his first competitive senior hat trick against Crawley Town whilst on loan at Shrewsbury, again showing glimpses of the potential that he possesses.
However Eaves' progress was stinted again during this season. After falling behind the likes of Beckford and Mason in the pecking order, Eaves was loaned out to the New York Stadium where he didn't endure the best of spells. He appeared 8 times for the Millers and failed to hit the net once, he then found his chances of first team action limited under Steve Evans and was consequently recalled to Bolton.
Eaves was then later loaned back to Shrewsbury Town for his second spell at the New Meadow, although he didn't enjoy the same success converting only twice in 25 games. So there's the background, what is next for Tom Eaves?
At 22 Eaves is still fairly young and should still be developing as a footballer, although does Freedman have the patience to stick with Eaves? We already know that the Scott favours playing with the lone striker, and with the likes of Jermaine Beckford, Marvin Sordell and Craig Davies already at the club is Eaves destined for another loan, or is this the end of the line for him in a white shirt?
I spoke to a Rotherham United fan earlier, questioning him on what he thought of Eaves' attributes from his time at the New York Stadium, he stated that,
'From what I saw of him, I wasn't too impressed. Considering that he (Eaves) is a fairly big lad, he's not very good with his head.'
The negative comments are hardly surprising considering his form whilst he was in South Yorkshire.
After this, I then asked the Rotherham fan if he believes that Eaves is good enough to play in the championship next season, he said,
'definitely not, he just didn't do anything for us. I'd probably say that he's good enough for league 2. The main problem with Eaves is that he just doesn't seem to know what to do when he gets the ball.'
With league 1 side Coventry City apparently interested in signing the striker would you let him go?
His chances may be even more limited at the 'Macron Stadium' next season, so surely it would be logical for Freedman to cash in on Eaves while he can? Either way, it's looking increasingly unlikely that Tom Eaves has a future at Bolton Wanderers.
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