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Is there any way back for Ben Amos this summer at Bolton Wanderers?

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karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
If any position in Phil Parkinson’s squad could possibly be described as ‘over-stocked,’ it would be in goal.

Last season it was a straight fight between Mark Howard and Ben Alnwick for the number one jersey, each finishing with roughly the same number of games.

England youth international Jake Turner’s encouraging progress pushed him to the fringes of senior consideration – and prompted Wanderers to release two more up-and-coming keepers, Harry Campbell and Will Jaaskelainen, in the last 12 months. But it is the return of a fourth option next month which could provide the biggest decision for Parkinson as he ponders life in the Championship.

When Ben Amos was farmed out to Cardiff City last summer it was viewed by many Bolton fans as the proverbial washing of hands. His first full season had ended in relegation his reportedly high wage was another burden the club could not afford to bear.

It had been a huge fall from grace for the former Manchester United keeper, whose stock had been sky high a summer earlier following an impressive loan spell in Neil Lennon’s first season.

The former Wanderers boss had fought hard to keep hold of Adam Bogdan with a similarly inflated wage but after the Hungarian received an offer he could not refuse from Liverpool, the same cash was shifted to a different target.

With little indication of the money troubles on the horizon, Lennon enforced upon the board how important it was to secure Amos, and they obliged.

It proved the last ‘big deal’ offered by the previous regime. Just a few months later, talk of financial hardship had begun – and Wanderers fans will need little reminder of what happened next.

Amos had signed a four-year contract but from the moment he stepped back into the Macron as a permanent member of the team he seemed uncomfortable under the weight of expectation.

Some high-profile errors, coupled with a miserable run of results led to fans starting to question Amos’s position.

Unlike Parkinson, Lennon had little back-up. Paul Rachubka provided temporary back-up but did not prove capable of taking the pressure off Amos for a prolonged spell. As such, his reputation at Bolton was dented, and just half way into the deal which ties him to Wanderers until 2019 it will take a comeback of Gary Madine proportions for him to win over the supporters once again. But does that mean he should he be discounted by Parkinson?

With 83 Championship games under his belt, Amos has played nearly twice the amount of football in this division than Alnwick (42 games), and considerably more than Howard’s four games in the second tier.

Even if Wanderers were to decide to move him on, would his much-vaunted wage put off potential suitors? And would Turner benefit more from going out on loan to gain experience of the senior game?

It is understood Cardiff took on a large percentage of Amos’s salary last year, which left Parkinson with little choice but to consent to the deal and find another senior keeper with just a few days remaining in the summer window.

Alnwick’s desire to move north and be nearer to his family made him the perfect candidate but he also had to negotiate his way out of his deal with Peterborough, as Wanderers could not pay a transfer fee whilst under embargo.

Amos went to South Wales in an effort to land a permanent move and prove his Championship credentials but played just 16 times in a mid-table Bluebirds team. What damage that has done to his value remains to be seen.

Pre-season could give an insight into Parkinson’s plan. Amos is due to come back in at the start of July but whether he gets a share of the game time with Alnwick and Howard should be a hint at his future.

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