Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt on Joel Dixon and goalkeeper competition


Wanderers boss Ian Evatt has challenged Joel Dixon to push James Trafford for the number one shirt next season.

Dixon joined Los Blancos last summer, establishing himself as first-choice goalkeeper past Matt Gilks ​​in the first half of the campaign.

However, the former Barrow shot-stopper lost his place in the squad after Trafford arrived on loan from Manchester City after a frustrating stint at Accrington Stanley.

But Evatt has been pleased with the way Dixon has responded in pre-season, having featured in recent friendlies against Longridge Town, Chorley and Stockport County.

“I was really happy with him. He’s a good keeper. He suffered with the rest of the team last season,” the Bolton chief said.

“When you’re on bad form, everyone gets affected and it spreads like a virus.

“I think we saw that with Joel last season and I think he started the season really well and then faded, but like everyone else.

“Then we made a change and Traff came in and did very well, but Traff also benefited from the good performance of the team.

“He’s a keeper I think about a lot. I think he has a lot of positives going for him and he’s a fantastic character that we’re lucky to have.

Trafford became one of Wanderers’ key players in the second half of last season, making 22 appearances in total as the club finished ninth in League One.

Evatt has already made it clear that his aim is to push for promotion to the Championship next season and wants to create healthy competition across the team.

Los Blancos have already brought in Jack Iredale and Conor Bradley this summer, as well as re-signing Trafford on loan for the campaign.

“Traffic needs to be pushed. No one should be comfortable,” the manager explained.

“We are trying to create a team here where everyone is under pressure all the time and that should happen in big football clubs like ours.

“You should never feel like your job is taken for granted. You always have to be pushed and under pressure, which means everyone works well all the time.

“And if we can create that kind of environment, everyone in the team will benefit.”

Young goalkeepers Luke Hutchinson and Ellis Litherland were also part of the Portugal first team.

Litherland signed his first professional contract with the club earlier this summer, while Hutchinson also agreed an extension.

Speaking during training camp, goalkeeping coach Gilks ​​said: “It’s great for youngsters Luke and Ellis to be having their first pre-season with the pros. They are now realizing what they are up to. it takes to be on top.”

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