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Bolton Wanderers release club captain Darren Pratley, with trio set to extend stays

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Big changes at The Macron

Bolton Wanderers v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League
Darren Pratley will leave Bolton Wanderers this summer after seven years at the club
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Big news this morning out of Bolton Wanderers, as the club announced that captain Darren Pratley will leave the club this summer upon the expiry of his contract. Also leaving the club will be his midfield compatriot Karl Henry and final day goalscoring hero Aaron Wilbraham.

Pratley departs Wanderers after seven years at the club, racking up 202 appearances and scoring 17 goals in all competitions since joining in July 2011. Not always a favourite of some fans Pratley’s contribution last season should not be forgotten, nor that of fellow midfielder Henry, who was instrumental in Bolton’s resurgence upon his arrival in September.

Wilbraham will be fondly remembered by Bolton fans for his last gasp winner on the final day against Nottingham Forest which retained our Championship status, but the 38-year-old only managed two goals in 27 appearances last season.

Under-23 squad players Jeff King, Cole Lonsdale and Ryan White will also not be retained, joining Derik Osede, Dorian Dervite, Chris Taylor, Jem Karacan, Mark Howard, Jan Kirchhoff and Chinedu Obasi in being released this summer.

It’s a bold move from Phil Parkinson, who seems to be looking for a more youthful, energetic squad for the new season.

Remaining players

You may well be asking, so who’s left? And quite rightly, because the answer is not many. But the good news is that Bolton have extended the contracts of central defensive pairing Mark Beevers and David Wheater, along with that of young striker Connor Hall, who scored 22 goals for the Under-23s last season.

Looking at the Bolton first team squad page we now have:

Two goalkeepers: Ben Alnwick and Jake Turner

Two centre-backs: Beevers and Wheater

Three full-backs: Andrew Taylor and Mark Little, plus Stephen Darby

One central midfielder: Josh Vela

Four wingers: Craig Noone and Will Buckley, plus Filipe Morais and Sammy Ameobi who are both out of contract - but we believe Morais is set to stay, with Ameobi’s future less certain

One striker: Adam Le Fondre, with Hall set to join him in the first team

So that’s 14 remaining first team players. The pressure is now on the board and Phil Parkinson to swiftly bolster the squad and replace the players that have departed.

One thing is certain. It should be an interesting few weeks before the start of the new season!