Preston youngster Josh Earl appears to be flourishing on his loan spell with League One basement boys Bolton Wanderers.
For Bolton, this season’s central aim has been to regain stability and increase respectability.
With well-documented ownership issues plaguing Wanderers throughout the summer, the EFL followed protocol and lumped a 12 point deduction on the club.
Bolton have done remarkably well to begin breaching the insurmountable gap between themselves and safety, but it would require a miracle now to see them complete yet another great escape.
Despite these difficulties faced by the club, Josh Earl has been one of the standout performers, with many Bolton fans hoping that PNE will give the go-ahead for Earl to remain at the University of Bolton Stadium until the end of the current campaign.
Speaking to The Bolton News on December 28, Earl proclaimed,
“I’d love to stay at Bolton Wanderers.”M. Illes, ‘Preston loanee Josh Earl: “I’d love to stay at Bolton Wanderers”‘, The Bolton News, (28 December 2019)
Following the frustration of injury and suspension, the towering defender has found his stride, featuring both at left back and as the left-sided central defender.
At Preston, Earl endured two stop-start seasons, making just 28 starts as he deputised for two much more experienced counterparts – Greg Cunningham and Andrew Hughes.
A persistent gripe aired by Preston fans was Earl’s position. A winger for many of his formative years, Earl transitioned to left back, but his physical attributes seemed to suggest that he would be best suited centrally.
Bolton manager Keith Hill has clearly noticed this predicament and sought to solve it by playing Earl in a central defensive role.
In Bolton’s last game against Shrewsbury, which finished 1-1, Earl was deployed as the left centre half and according to Bolton fansite Lion of Vienna Suite, the loanee is best suited to that position.
Earl’s ability on the ball is his best quality and this was shown with a Cruyff-turn which garnered plenty of social media attention.
Looks a proper player now he has had a run of games, strong, confident on the ball and decent in the air one to watch for sure— Rich Marsden (@Rich_VIPCom) December 30, 2019
It was a moment of magic that left many Bolton fans drooling for Earl to extend his stay at the club.
Following a run of successive starts, Earl is gaining in confidence and developing quickly as a player.
All that’s left for the defender to do is increase his duel win percentage and begin fully exploiting his own physical prowess.
Things are looking up for Earl and it certainly bodes well for the future.