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MOTM: Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Crewe Alexandra - Jak Hickman

A very promising debut from Wanderers’ #12

Bolton Wanderers v Crewe Alexandra - EFL Trophy Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

It was a battle of the debutants when deciding who would receive the man of the match award upon the final whistle on Tuesday night. Neither Shaun Miller nor Jak Hickman got a full 90 minutes under their belts, however their performances whilst on the pitch warranted huge praise. But for me, it was the Coventry City Academy graduate that pipped Wanderers’ latest recruit to the man of the match award.

Hickman started the game really brightly, delivering a superb cross in the second minute that evaded Doyle and Delfouneso and fell slightly short of Gordon arriving at the far post. The debutant was a constant threat down the right flank. Just before the 25 minute mark, Hickman again combined well with Ali Crawford, this time by making a surging, overlapping run followed by cutting into the box onto his weaker left foot before opting to shoot, which was consequently blocked - rather than pick out Doyle on the edge of the six yard box. We’ll let that slide!

Hickman’s clear ability with the ball at his feet and willingness to get ball into the opposition box as early as possible, demonstrated just how much of a shrewd signing he may be. Time after time he showed that he knew exactly what he was going to do with the ball, before he was in possession.

Jak was a nuisance for the Crewe Alexandra left-back throughout his time on the pitch and his range of crossing was very promising. Perhaps his best came after 55 minutes with the score at 1-1. After smartly bringing a lofted ball down with his thigh, he hit a diagonal cross into the box which was inch perfect to meet the head of Eoin Doyle. You would bet your house on Doyle hitting the target from there, but it wasn't to be and Doyle’s header narrowly missed the far corner.

Not only was Hickman impressive on the ball, his endeavour to get forward on the right wing whilst the ball was on the opposite flank with Liam Gordon was a real positive. Often acting as the third attacker occupying the wider role, he offered a wider outlet for the midfield to gain a better attacking advantage over a strong Crewe side.

All in all, a solid debut from the former Coventry man. Although I don't expect him to start this weekend after Evatt’s midweek comments regarding fitness levels, I do expect Hickman to play a vital role in Wanderers campaign and offer great competition to Gethin Jones in that wing-back position. I don't think it would be too crazy to suggest that Hickman could be utilised further up the pitch as a right sided midfielder or winger, should Wanderers ever opt to play four at the back. His attacking qualities displayed on Tuesday show that he could be very useful there. His performance will have definitely given Evatt food for thought going forward.