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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers Banter » What happened to Bolton Wanderers' nine deadline day signings in 2019?

What happened to Bolton Wanderers' nine deadline day signings in 2019?

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
A year ago today new Bolton Wanderers management team of Keith Hill and David Flitcroft embarked on a transfer deadline day unlike any we have ever seen before.

A total of NINE players were announced by the club in just under six hours, sparking a wave of optimism among supporters that the Great Escape could be on.

Reality proved something quite different. And just as Thibaud Verlinden’s early goal for the new-look team at Rotherham the very next weekend was squashed by a rampant Millers who went on to score six, that surge of positivity was quickly stifled by results.

Here we look at the nine players signed that day – and where they are now.

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Belgian winger signed on loan from Stoke City, much to the chagrin of the Potters’ fans, who were keen to see him given more of a first team shot.

How did he do? Verlinden proved popular with the Bolton faithful too. Although Hill was reluctant to play him from the start, citing some concerns about his durability in League One, the youngster certainly provided some highlights and added to his reputation.

Where is he now? He returned to Stoke in January and looked set for more games in the Championship under new boss Michael O’Neil until a knee injury ended his season prematurely. Now fit again, he came on as a substitute in last week’s cup win against Rochdale.

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Midfielder with some reputation, having earned big moves to the likes of Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Sunderland. Bridcutt had been marginalised at the City Ground until Bolton came calling for a loan.

How did he do? Although not adored by all, he did have a big impression on the type of football Hill’s team played. With Bridcutt playing in the holding role, or at centre-half, the team seemed more capable of playing their way through midfield. Without him, it became a bit direct.

Injuries ultimately wrecked any real consistency and Bolton were all too often left without the services of a player who could have made a difference.

Where is he now? Bridcutt went back to Forest in January and then immediately out to Lincoln City, where he played five times before making his move permanent in August.

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Re-signed by Hill, who had worked with him at Rochdale, Bolton fans knew all about Buckley who had previously spent two years with Wanderers under Phil Parkinson.

How did he do? Whereas Buckley had not hit the levels expected of him in his previous stint, this time he could point to some horrendous luck with injuries.

A fractured kneecap against Rochdale was followed by a broken leg against Bristol Rovers a few months later. He finished up with just six appearances to show for his second spell.

Where is he now? Still on the lookout for a new club and linked with a few League One sides, including Plymouth Argyle.

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Experienced centre-half who had helped Sheffield United out of League One alongside Bolton a couple of seasons earlier. Signed on loan with a view to a permanent move.

How did he do? Much to everyone’s surprise, Wright didn’t really excel after Wanderers had struggled to pin down a regular defensive partner for him. An error-strewn game against Burton Albion on New Year’s Day remains his last and he returned to Bramall Lane swiftly afterwards.

Where is he now? Released by the Blades on January 31, Wright has not yet found another club. At the age of 34 he surely still has something to offer?

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Oddly banished to the subs’ bench at Doncaster Rovers, Hill and Flitcroft managed to lever the Scot out of the Keepmoat Stadium to be the playmaker in their new-look side.

How did he do? Of all the signings made by Hill and Flitcroft, Crawford was arguably the most successful. Produced a couple of stunning goals, consistently good delivery from set pieces and was always in the thick of the action. Sadly, a knee injury sustained in a meaningless EFL Trophy game against Manchester City’s Under-23s left him watching from the side-lines for months as Bolton slumped to relegation.

Where is he now? Why he’s still here! The only one of the nine deadline day signings to earn another deal, Crawford hopes to help Wanderers bounce straight back to promotion under Ian Evatt this season.

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Much travelled striker, well known to Hill and Flitcroft from their time at Barnsley and Rochdale, O’Grady arrived on a free transfer from Oldham to add a touch more power to the Bolton front line.

How did he do? An immaculate professional, you cannot dispute the fact that O’Grady put everything into making his time at Bolton a success. But equally you cannot hide the fact he struggled to win over the supporters – especially when he was picked over the more eye-catching skills of Verlinden.

Had a purple patch after winning a regular place in the team, playing especially well at Bristol Rovers, and also handed Tranmere a hiding in February.

But those moments were few and far between and like most wearing white, he went through the motions in the final few weeks.

Where is he now? Still on the lookout for a new club, and almost certainly in top condition.

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Energetic Ipswich defender who cancelled his deal at Portman Road to sign a one-year contract with Wanderers.

How did he do? As a winger, Emmanuel was quite the success at Bolton. His rampaging runs down the right often punctuated the gloom and he had that rare quality among the Whites’ recent squad – a turn of pace.

As a full-back, which unfortunately is where he played for most of his time with the club, his levels of concentration were often questioned.

A good player in there somewhere and some fans hoped he would stay on as a wing-back at Bolton this season.

Where is he now? Emmanuel secured a two-year deal at Hull City with an option for another year – so he’s not doing to shabbily at all.

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Wing-back who played under Hill and Flitcroft at Rochdale and was on the books at Northampton Town before his old boss came calling last year.

How did he do? Almost impossible to judge. Bunney was involved in a bizarre late-night car crash just days after signing for the club which left him with a dislocated shoulder and a broken sternum. Several months later he returned to the training ground but started only once for the club, in a 2-1 defeat at Blackpool, playing 52 minutes.

Where is he now? Bunney returned to train with Wanderers in the summer and played in the first couple of pre-season games before Evatt opted to sign Jamie Mascoll as competition for Liam Gordon on the left flank.

Now fit and firing again, Bunney should be quite capable of getting a club at League Two level.

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The best-known signing Wanderers made that day. An Ireland international who had led the line for Newcastle United, Celtic and Sunderland, on a free transfer. What wasn’t to like?

How did he do? Although Murphy walked into the building with a snarling confidence and a determination to tot up goals at Bolton, the experienced striker quickly looked a frustrated customer as the service he needed just did not arrive.

In a different time Murphy could have been a big success. He scored eight times – a reasonable haul give the circumstances – but spent most of his afternoons looking thoroughly cheesed off.

Where is he now? After his release at Bolton, Murphy decided to move back to Ireland with his family and has secured a player-coach contract with hometown club Waterford.

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Glad we kept Crawford and would like to have kept Emmanuel but as for the rest no great loss really especially Brickfeet.

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