Owen Coyle has got Trotters fans talking by hyping up the impact that new loan signing Rodrigo Moreno can have on the club.
The Spain U-19 forward joins on a season-long loan from Portuguese champions Benfica, with hopes from the home camp that a brief stint in the Premier League will help toughen him up. Moreno was signed in July from Real Madrid Castilla – the European giants’ reserve side that competes in the Segunda Division B – but was shipped out before making a single performance. He did however score six times in 19 appearances for Castilla before the move, and Coyle’s comments following the transfer on deadline day have created something of a buzz around Greater Manchester. Immediately underlining his talent, the Scot backed Moreno to be challenging for a place in the starting 11, despite his little experience. “In terms of the front places, he’s right in there challenging with Kevin Davies, Ivan Klasnic, Johan Elmander and Robbie Blake,” he said.
The Brazilian, who qualifies to play for Spain through spells at the youth teams of Madrid, Nigran and Celta Vigo, was initially thought to have been brought in as cover after it emerged that fellow summer signing Klasnic was still struggling to get up to match fitness. Fans were then pleasantly surprised when Coyle announced that he had plans for striker Danny Ward to be sent out on loan, mainly due to the lack of available positions within the squad. Ward had a successful loan spell at League One side Swindon Town last season – his nine goals and energetic performances down the left wing leading The Robins to the play-off finals, only to lose 1-0 to Milwall. Ward signed a new three-year deal last month and is regarded as one of Bolton’s prize assets. The general consensus among fans is that if Moreno is keeping him out of a place in the squad, he must be the real deal.
Tactically the signing is a dream for Coyle. Hoof-ball hasn’t been seen or barely even mentioned since Gary Megson’s departure last year, and for good reason. Coyle’s stylish, free-flowing way of playing not only lifted them out of the dog-fight at Christmas, but helped them up to a 13th place finish. A couple of new additions and a summer free of pressure with his players have done them the world of good as they now stand fifth in the table after three games. Moreno joins the list of players billed as attacking midfielders along with the likes of Blake, former Man City man Martin Petrov, Lee Chung-Yong and Stuart Holden looking to get forward when on the field, and Coyle believes his new signing can really get the crowd going: “As far as I’m concerned, he is a real flair player, and the type that we want to entice to the Reebok,” he said. “He is one of those that, as a fan, you feel something might happen whenever he gets the ball.” Touching on how he plans to warm his new player into the English game, the Scot mentioned that he had a few unorthodox methods to embed him into the style of play. “He was on the end of a couple of challenges from the skipper in training on Monday, so if you can cope with that then you will be able to do okay,” he mused. Finally, he said that Moreno wouldn’t need any special training, and that he would be going straight into the mix for their tough away trip to Arsenal on Saturday: “He immediately comes into our first team squad, so if and when the time is right then he will appear and be able to show his qualities.”
Bolton are only expected to make one change ahead of their match at the Emirates, with keeper Adam Bogdan poised for his first Premier League start. The Hungarian came on as a substitute in the Trotters’ 2-2 draw against Birmingham after Jussi Jaaskelainen was sent off in the first half for striking Roger Johnson. Jaaskelainen will serve a three-match ban for his actions, with Bogdan expecting to fill the void while the Fin watches from the sidelines. Elsewhere there are a few worries about Croatian Klasnic, who only resumed training today as he recovers from a thigh strain. But there is little worry over his condition, with Klasnic expected to only feature from the bench, and Coyle having to make room for his new signing Moreno. Other than the two possible absentees Bolton have a fully fit squad, and if they ever looked like they could get a shock result from the fixture, it would be this week.