1st Team Squad Goalkeepers: Jussi Jaaskelianen, Adam Bogdan, Robert Lainton
Overview: I must confess total bemusement with how Bolton have managed their goalkeeping ranks over the summer. At its essence a loan spell should be an opportunity for a club to allow their own player gain the experience elsewhere that he’s unlikely to get by staying with the parent club before eventually coming back a better player. Fair enough, Bolton saw Jussi as first choice for the 2010-11 season and allowed Ali Al-Habsi to for Wigan. Over the course of the season, it became clear that Jussi just doesn’t have the agility he once had. Shots he was easily getting to a couple of years ago, he was struggling to get to now. The reactions remain razor-sharp, but the body can’t seem to do the mind justice. When Al-Habsi went on to be Player of the Season with the Latics, the time looked right to gently usher the long-serving Finn out of the first team, but instead, Bolton have remained loyal and more surprisingly allowed the Omani keeper to go for the relatively paltry fee of £4 million.
Is the heart ruling the head when it comes to Jussi? He’s been a fantastic goalkeeper and servant to not only the club, but also English football, but all good things come to an end and after watching his performances last season, I think he has lost a good deal of agility and that is irreversible. The Trotters are left with – not so much a bad goalkeeping division – but one that’s vulnerable. Adam Bogdan is a goalkeeper of potential, but could he step in for long parts of the season should Jussi suffer an injury or a dip in form? It’s doubtful and that makes their recent goalkeeping decisions all the more perplexing.
Worst case scenario: Age continues to ravage Jussi and his performances deteriorate at a rate of knots. Owen Coyle turns to Adam Bogdan is given his chance, it soon becomes apparent that he’s not yet ready to be a first choice. The club are forced to make do with the duo for much of the season and eventually the mistakes add up to drag them back into the relegation scrap.
Most likely outcome: Jussi will continue to decline slowly, but his natural ability will compensate and Bolton won’t drop a huge amount of points.