Bolton in 'Ongoing Discussions' Over Trafford Move

  • May 19, 2022 | By Chris Mann
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Matt Gilks says Bolton are in talks with Manchester City regarding the future of James Trafford, but admits the young goalkeeper must be given time to make his own decision.

Trafford joined Wanderers on loan from City in January and made 22 appearances in the second-half of the campaign, during which he became the first 'keeper in club history to keep clean sheets in each of his first four outings.

The 19-year-old was a relative unknown upon his arrival at the University of Bolton Stadium but departed having won many admirers, who have called for the Trotters to make a fresh move to bring him back next season.

Trafford, who has another 12 months to run on his contract at the Etihad Stadium, is understood to have attracted interest from the Championship and has also been linked with a switch to Belgian side Anderlecht, but Gilks believes Bolton are well placed to land the England youth international with the realistic prospect of regular first-team football.

"I know you want to know about Traff," Gilks told BBC Radio Manchester's The Wanderer Podcast.

"I think we're trying to get him back and that's where we're at with that. There's ongoing discussions between the two clubs.

"Hopefully we can get it sorted sooner rather than later and hopefully we get him back and he does another season, a full season, like he finished last season.

"Especially after the Accrington situation - he wasn't happy there. He went back to City and we were fortunate enough to get him.

"The pecking order at City, he's four or five or whatever he might be, and unfortunately when you're at a club of that stature, they can go and buy a keeper.

"Especially at that age, knowing Traff now as I do and as a goalkeeper, he's such a likeable character. He's a bit of a throwback in his character. He can be daft but he's such a strong and powerful lad. At 19, he's got every chance of being anything he wants to be.

"As well as take on board and work hard and implement the stuff we tell him, he's got to enjoy his football and he'd rather be playing at a club like Bolton than being at Manchester City's 23s. It just makes sense to be here.

"It's what fits best for him. At the end of the day it's what he wants to do. If he's happy at Bolton, then come back and play.

"If there's Championship interest, are you going to go and play or do you go there and be a number two and insert yourself in the club and try and play? Or do you go abroad and play?

"It's about playing now, because the more games he can get at a young age, especially at a club like us where we're getting 20,000. Accrington are still League One but the size of the club and the fanbase is no comparison really.

"I think if he's happy in himself to come back to Bolton and play games, then I think he'll do that. If he wants to go and challenge himself at a higher level in the Championship and if he's being advised to do that, then his decision will be made to do that.

"But I think you've just got to let them be and hopefully we can entice him enough to come back and if not, then you wish him all the best, thank him for everything he's done, and hope he builds a career for himself."

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
1 Accrington Stanley 0 0
2 Barnsley 0 0
3 Bolton Wanderers 0 0
4 Bristol Rovers 0 0
5 Burton Albion 0 0
View Full Standings >>


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