Wanderers will give Dan Nlundulu the time and space he needs to recognise his potential, says Ian Evatt.
The 24-year-old striker has started just three times in League One since his summer move from Southampton, with his only goals so far coming in the EFL Trophy against Manchester United’s Under-21s.
Evatt remains confident, however, that Nlundulu is making positive progress and after an encouraging display in Tuesday night’s win at Stockport County, he believes more goals will follow.
“I think that was his best game in a Bolton shirt, he was excellent,” he said. “I thought he bullied their back three at times, some brilliant hold-up play, and I think he could have ended the game with three or four assists, and then it looks a different night’s work.
“I have absolutely no doubt that Dan is going to be a top player. Yes, he is a young man, yes, he is still immature in his football education and we are working hard with him on that all the time, but he has so much ability.
“We believe in him long-term. And I will back him all the way to show what he can do.”
Nlundulu created several big chances at Edgeley Park but was swapped towards the end for Victor Adeboyejo without the solace of a goal or an assist for his efforts.
“It is down to us as coaches and as a manager to give him positive reinforcement, tell him the right messages,” Evatt added. “A lot of his work (at Stockport) was excellent but the only frustration for me was probably the last thing he did on the pitch where he turned, wrestled, created the chance for a shot but then went to pass.
“He needs to have that ruthless edge but I think his all-round play, the way he brought other people in and particular the ones he set up for Cogs (Josh Dacres-Cogley) and Paris (Maghoma), there was lots to like about it.”
Job Dadi Bodvarsson furthered his claim for a starting spot in the next league game against Exeter City with two goals, and the Icelander’s recent performances have hinted that he is returning to the sort of form he showed at the start of the year before a serious ankle injury.
“I’m really pleased to see Jon getting back to where we want him to be,” Evatt told The Bolton News. “It hasn’t just been a physical thing it has been a mental thing too. He needed to get over the injury himself and understand that it is going to take time and patience.
“Jon is a brilliant guy and I think the world of him. Sometimes he over-thinks things and when he was not automatically back to where he was prior to the injury there was some frustration there.
“But I think he has relaxed into it this last couple of weeks in particular and I have seen some really good signs.”
Meanwhile, Wanderers' youth team will face Derby County at home in the second round of the FA Youth Cup on Monday, November 27. Entrance will be £3 for adults and £1 concessions.