Lennon promises Bolton summer overhaul to ‘put his own stamp’ on squad

Bolton Wanderers manager Neil Lennon has confirmed that there will be mass changes at the club over the summer period as he looks to make his own mark on the squad.

The Trotters face tricky away trips to play-off contenders Brentford tomorrow and Championship leaders Bournemouth next Saturday before finishing their season at home to Birmingham City.

Although Lennon has been largely happy with his side’s performances, he has acknowledged that changes are needed if Wanderers are to fulfil their potential next season.

“We need to change things a little bit in terms of the playing squad to be better for next season,” he said.

“There will be players leaving, there are players out of contract, but we have also made offers to two or three players.

“However, there’s no question that there will be changes and then I can put my own stamp on the squad because it’s really not my squad at the moment.

“If we can get the personnel in that we want then I think we will have a strong season next year, there’s no question of that.”

Bolton travel to seventh-placed Brentford after a late Adam Le Fondre strike earned them a draw at the Macron Stadium against Charlton on Tuesday night.

Lennon was pleased to see the on-loan Cardiff striker hit the net for the seventh time in 14 games since arriving in January.

“Who knows how many goals ‘Alfie’ Le Fondre might have got had he been here since the start of the season?” said the Northern Irishman.

“He is a goal scorer but he can get better with his link-up play in general. But he has been an important player for us since January.

Bolton have regularly struggled with injuries to key players this season, something which Lennon believes has held the club back from enjoying a more successful season.

The ex-Celtic boss lamented club’s long-running injury crisis, suggesting it was the worst fitness crisis he has known as a manager.

“Injuries have robbed us,” he said. “We had a really good spell in November and December when we’ve lost one in 13 and we’re thinking ‘we’ve found a decent squad here’.

“But the injuries to important players have crippled us and that’s something that you can’t do much about. In the end we’ve had to bring in loan players just to make up the numbers.

“At one stage six weeks ago we had 12 players out injured, something I’d never come across before. We have good players but the majority of them are sitting in the treatment room.

“Craig Davies, Mark Davies, Max Clayton, Zach Clough, Darren Pratley – they’d all make a big improvement on what we’re seeing at the minute.”

With his sights starting to turn to next season, Lennon is aiming for a strong finish in the last three games of 2014/15, starting with the trip to Brentford on Saturday.

“We want to finish the season as strongly as we can,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to the game, it’ll be tough with Brentford going for a play-off place so we’re going to have to be at our best.

“We play them and Bournemouth and we want to spoil the party and we want to get to 59 points.

“Brentford having something to play for gives the game an edge. I think all the pressure is on Brentford and we’ll try to capitalise on that.”

Main image courtesy of Bolton Wanderers via YouTube, with thanks.

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