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Bolton boss hoping Neal Eardley can get career back on track

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Neal Eardley will be given an opportunity to prove he is not the “unluckiest player going.”

Wanderers have given a trial to the Wales international defender, who has seen the last three years of his career wrecked by a string of injuries.

Released with a heavy heart by Gary Rowett at Birmingham City in the summer, the 27-year-old managed just 21 appearances in three years at St Andrew’s.

His availability this summer gave Phil Parkinson a chance to bring him to Lostock at the start of the week and though the Wanderers boss is not making any promises, he has liked what he has seen so far.

After watching the full-back play 45 minutes in the 2-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers, he said: “Neal has had a tough time through injury so I didn’t want to give him any more time and risk getting him injured again, for himself more than anything,” he told The Bolton News.

“It is the same with David Wheater but pre-season is about looking at different things, different permutations and trying to find that formula which makes us solid defensively with the belief we can create and score some goals.

“Neal played well and we’ll continue to look at him.”

Eardley suffered a cruciate ligament injury in his first season at Birmingham which took a year of recovery. After that he dislocated a shoulder, which took another several months to sort.

The former Blackpool man had a brief loan spell with Leyton Orient – which lasted just one game – in January 2015 but suffered a more niggling problems which stopped him getting fully fit. His last game for the Blues was against Bournemouth in the FA Cup in January, and lasted just 45 minutes – prompting Rowett's "unlucky" assessment.

While Eardley may have plenty to prove on the fitness front, Parkinson has also taken in two defenders who are very much known quantities.

Frazer Richardson played under the Whites boss at Charlton, while ex-Brighton centre-half Gordon Greer is another man with an impressive depth to his CV.

Neither featured at Tranmere after arriving in the camp just 24 hours earlier but Parkinson has not ruled out either man sticking around in the longer term.

“They weren’t officially on the bench at Tranmere,” Parkinson said. “They only trained with us yesterday so we just gave them a day.

“They trained with us yesterday and came with us today to get a get a bit of football in their legs in the warm up and to just get them to know the lads.

“They are both excellent pros. I have worked with Frazer before and obviously Gordon, Scottish international, terrific leader and it's good to have them on board.

"We'll continue to talk to them as the week progresses.”


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