Former Manchester United and Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has been working with Bolton’s owners, Football Ventures, to create a more data-driven approach to signing players.
The re-signing of Will Buckley this week added to four other new arrivals – Muhammadu Faal, George Thomason, Ethan Hamilton and Brandon Fleming – with high hopes that more will be on the way before Friday’s deadline.
Hill has a shortlist of players and though time is now ticking down, he says every effort is being made to improve the squad.
“This might be a last four or five-day market but we have done a lot of liaising with Peter Kenyon, put a lot of evidence in front of Peter Kenyon with respect to the players we want to recruit and it’s a question of making sure we can get those deals over the line,” he told The Bolton News.
“You have to be patient as well. There has to be a certain amount of methodology to what we do.”
Explaining the relationship between himself and Kenyon, Hill says the so-called ‘Moneyball’ approach is nothing new to him – and that new arrivals will be tailored to how he wants the team to play.
“We do a lot of work as a staff, that hasn’t changed,” he said.
“I heard a comparison to Moneyball – and I have been using Moneyball since I started managing at 36 years old. I try and stretch the pound, try and stretch the penny.
“We have created our own matrix from the way we want to play. We have designed our own DNA on player recruitment. I have always used the non-league and every club I have been at has always made a financial profit.
“That is the Moneyball system I have used on limited resources.
“You don’t need masses of staff, you need intelligent people who are willing to work hard, simple really.
“We are trying to use the resource of our budget as efficiently as we possibly can so that we don’t go outside it. We are always willing to make money – trade, trade, trade. It’s important when you are working within restrictions that you are willing to trade.
“Moneyball is an illusion. I think if you were to compare it to any football club in Britain I’d definitely go with the Brentford model. I think it’s amazing what they do. But we are still in the same situation with respect to recruitment – myself and David (Flitcroft) are liaising with Peter Kenyon.
“The rest of the work is being done by a lot of people to make sure we get the best people from the list we have – we have a number one, and probably a number 10. And it’s the same whether it’s a central defender, a midfielder. We have a list of players and can we realistically get those players on that list?”
Wanderers already tailor their work to the data taken on the pitch and the training ground and the club plan to expand and improve that in the future, particularly on the medical side.
Hill feels the approach is the right way to go, given the parameters the club will have to work in during a transfer embargo in the next three windows.
“With respect to using data, we always use data,” he said. “We use it to improve players, to measure players on a daily basis, and they are the resources you can work efficiently with in a small group of staff but make sure that the players, the culture and the hard work develops and then you can start measuring it even more.
“From a Moneyball situation, what Bolton do want moving forward is to invest in coaching, developing players, to achieve three-point promotion success, and a succession of saleable assets. That’s a good model but at this moment in time it won’t be to the scale of Brentford.”