I think it is fair to say that Mark Beevers has made an immediate impression at Bolton Wanderers. He has won two successive man of the match awards (Sheffield United (read here) and Blackpool (read here)) on this site and received great reviews for his first competitive starts for the club.
He arrived well reviewed by Millwall fans who according to this account on the site (read here) were if anything surprised he opted to remain at League One level. This is a good sign as Bolton look to build again after so many difficult seasons as it indicates that Beevers was sold a vision for where the club is going. Whether that vision would be realistic is another matter and whether it was simply a matter of a lack of interest at a higher level who knows but it is encouraging if you don’t think about it too much.
Beevers started out at Sheffield Wednesday making his first team debut in 2007. He impressed during his 140 appearances even being linked with Everton as the long term replacement for David Weir and former Wanderer Alan Stubbs. During his time at the club he also earned a call up for the England Under-19s making his one and only appearance for an England side. In the same season he picked up the player of the year award. In the 2011-2012 season Beevers was part of the team which won promotion from League One finishing second.
He was then loaned out to League One’s Milton Keynes Dons before being loaned to Millwall. His debut at Millwall came against Bolton Wanderers in 2012 as they ran out 2-1 winners. That move was later made permanent. During his last season at the club he helped them to the playoff final and even scored during their unsuccessful attempt to secure promotion.
So it is fair to say that Beevers is a player who appreciates what it takes to put yourself in a position to get out of this league. Many are backing the club to finish in the top six this season and that knowhow could be invaluable at the business end of the season when the pressure is on.
Before bringing him to Bolton it is reported that Phil Parkinson tried to sign Beevers for Bradford City. It was reported that a bid between £150,000 and £250,000 had been accepted for an unnamed centre back.
The 26 year old centre back can apparently also play at left back offering a bit of back up to Dean Moxey and fellow new signing of Andrew Taylor.
Based on his opening performances this could be one of the best signings the club has made in a long time. A solid defence will be invaluable to the club if they are to achieve anything this season and the early signs are good, while hoping that the Blackpool match is a blip. His no nonsense approach to defending is welcome, I would far rather have a defender who pumps the ball into the row Z every time rather than trying something clever which occasionally doesn’t come off.
Not only are his individual performances encouraging but so is his partnership with David Wheater. On the LOV Pod it was noted that they work together as a unit far better than our central defenders have in recent years. When one goes for the ball the other will cover the space in behind and so on. Given the defensive anarchy of recent years this is again a hugely welcome development. If this partnership can continue to develop then it could well offer the platform from which to make a sustained tilt at the top six this season.
But the concern must be that Wheater will likely spend some time on the side-lines through injury this season. At that point after the release of Alex Finney it is most likely that Dorian Dervite would have to move into the heart of the Bolton defence. It will be interesting to see if the same level of organisation will be possible with the erratic Frenchman. In my first piece for this site I described Dervite as about as useful as a chocolate tea pot. He proved last season that that is something of an insult to chocolate tea pots which do at least offer some resistance to the oncoming tide. The long and the short of it is that if Beevers is forced to play with Dervite we could see an end to defensive solidarity worryingly quickly.