Countdown to 2016/17 - 20 days to go

Wanderers' countdown series continues as we mark 20 days until the start of the club's 2016/17 season

Twenty days from today, Wanderers will be kicking off their 2016/17 Sky Bet League One campaign at home to Sheffield United. With that in mind, puts three former occupants of the number 20 shirt under the microscope. 

Nathan Blake
December 1995 – October 1998

A man who earned himself a name as a prolific frontman during the early nineties with hometown club Cardiff City, Blake arrived at Burnden Park in December 1995 off the back of a stint with Sheffield United.

Helping the club earn promotion to the top flight as league champions in May 1997, his partnership with John McGinlay was undeniable with the pair notching 54 goals between them in Wanderers’ title winning campaign.

Moving to the Reebok Stadium with the Whites in 1997, he departed the club shortly after their relegation from the Premiership a year later, linking up with Blackburn for £4.25m where he remained until September 2001.

Now just shy of his thirties, Blake moved to Molineux with Wolves before enjoying brief stints with both Leicester and Leeds, hanging up his boots with the latter in early 2005.

Where is he now?

Since retiring from the game, the now 44-year-old has set up his own property management company in his native Wales and has also won an Welsh film festival award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘The Homing Bird’ in which he plays a football coach.

Fernando Hierro
July 2004 – May 2005

A true legend of the game having spent 14 years plying his trade with Spanish giants Real Madrid, the signing of Hierro by Wanderers was one which shocked the sporting world.

Boasting an impressive back catalogue in the game, the Spaniard made over 450 appearances for the Bernabéu outfit, winning the Champions League and La Liga title on a number of occasions before linking up with Qatar based club Al Rayyan briefly in 2003.

From there however, he agreed a one-year deal with Bolton and went on to write his name into the club’s folklore, despite his brief stay at the Reebok Stadium.

Figuring in 35 games in all competitions for the club to help them secure European qualification for the first time in their history, he also notched a solitary goal for the Whites in a 3-2 defeat against Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Where is he now?

Announcing his retirement at the end of the campaign, he returned to his native land and was appointed Málaga CF's director of football in 2011, remaining in the position for a year but departing after the club had finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League.

Embarking on a coaching career in July 2014 however, he was named assistant coach of Real Madrid, replacing Zinedine Zidane – who left to take the reins of Real Madrid Castilla – in Carlo Ancelotti's backroom.

Hierro took his first steps into management earlier this summer when he was appointed manager at Segunda side Real Oviedo.

Robbie Blake
July 2010 – June 2012

A man who made his name with both Bradford City and Burnley, Blake’s stint with Wanderers was unfortunately not the most successful spell for the experienced frontman.

Having started his career with Darlington, the Middlesbrough-born forward move to Valley Parade in 1997 where he went on to average almost a goal every three games for the Bantams, winning promotion as a First Division runner-up in 1999.

Making the first of two moves to Burnley in 2002, he impressed for the Clarets, enough to earn moves to Birmingham City and Leeds United before returning to Turf Moor in 2007.

Winning promotion to the Premier League with the Lancashire outfit via the play-offs two years later, he remained with the club for another season before moving to the Reebok.

Scoring just one goal during his two seasons as a Bolton player – a late equalising free-kick against Birmingham City – he departed the club following their relegation to the Championship and spent a season with Doncaster Rovers thereafter.

Where is he now?

Since 2013 when he played briefly for Team Northumbria, Blake has been embarking on his coaching badges and recently worked as a striker coach for Chesterfield.

Other Bolton No.20s include: Nicky Southall, Salva Ballesta, Jeff Smith, Ricardo Vaz Te, Jay Spearing, Joe Riley, Rochinha and Jose Manuel Casado

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