Bolton have experienced a strong start to the 2021/22 campaign, with three wins and two draws in their first five competitive matches.
Whilst Ian Evatt will be delighted that his side are yet to taste defeat, two 3-3 draws in the first two League One matches may have been disappointing for the head coach as defensive errors stopped them from getting maximum points despite scoring six goals.
They now travel away to League One rivals Wigan to play Leam Richardson’s side in the second round of the Carabao Cup, hoping to extend their unbeaten run to six matches.
This clash with Wigan gives Evatt the opportunity to make a few changes and rest some of his key players whilst also handing opportunities to those who are yet to feature this season. Whilst Bolton will want to progress through to the next round, the league should be the priority, and that allows the manager to be more experimental with his XI than usual.
One player who should be unleashed against Wigan is summer signing Elias Kachunga. The 29-year-old has made four appearances in the league since arriving at the Trotters, but is yet to make his full debut for Wanderers and this match is the ideal situation in which to give him his opportunity.
Despite only accumulating 47 minutes of action in his four league games for Bolton to date, Kachunga has already provided two assists. This is a promising sign for the forward and shows that he has the quality to make an impact in the final third, given that he has already directly contributed to two goals despite playing a little over one half of football.
Evatt has hailed the former Huddersfield man as a fantastic player and admitted that he was one of the club’s biggest transfer targets last summer before eventually signing him this month.
The 39-year-old told Bolton’s official website: “Elias was one of our primary targets in the summer but it didn’t quite work out then. Sometimes football’s a funny old game and opportunities come around again.
“Elias is a fantastic player with a great pedigree and is versatile in attack which gives us the ability to play him in different ways He is vastly experienced, well-educated and has played the game at the highest level.
“We are delighted to have him on board.”
The £720k-rated attacker has plenty of experience at higher levels than League One. He once scored six Bundesliga goals in a season for Paderborn, 12 Championship goals for Huddersfield in a single campaign and has played 39 games in the Premier League.
This shows that he has the quality to be a game-changer with his goals whilst playing in more prestigious divisions than League One, but it is now down to him to show that he can still do it by producing a top-class performance against Wigan. Evatt must unleash him and given him the opportunity to prove that Kachunga still has it in him to be a match-winner, although his two assists so far suggest that he’s on the right track.