In Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Coventry, Bolton Wanderers named the youngest team in the EFL – an average age of just 19.
Although the Trotters were fortunate to see their visitors have three goals disallowed, they can be immensely proud of such a gallant performance in incredibly challenging circumstances, with players not being paid and all repercussions of the deep-rooted financial problems.
Bolton’s spirited defensive displays – against Coventry this week and the week before at Wycombe, where they held out for an hour – were team efforts.
Yoan Zouma, however, has come in for special praise as the 21-year-old has been strong in the air and made several heroic blocks, incredible considering he did not kick a senior ball last season after joining from Angers II.
2018-19 opportunities were also limited for Birmingham City’s Marc Roberts, who started just three games that year due to a combination of a long-term injury and him falling out of favour with then-manager Garry Monk.
Since mainstay Michael Morrison departed – and Monk was replaced by Pep Clotet – Roberts has had more of a look-in with two starts already and he has certainly taken his opportunity.
The former Barnsley centre-back won his individual battles with Benik Afobe in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bristol City; he did the basics well, he posed a threat with his long throws and delivered a delightful cross for Lukas Jutkiewicz’s equalizer.
Although Roberts is 29, he spent the first seven years of his senior career in non-league with various clubs including Halifax, which means he has not undergone too intense training early in his career and thus may peak later than most defenders.