Countdown to 2016/17 - 26 days to go continues its series of countdown articles profiling former players who have worn a specific shirt number for the club

In the third article of this special countdown series, takes a look at three players who wore the number 26 shirt for Wanderers during their stints at the club.

Greg Strong
August 1995 – July 2000

Bolton-born Strong joined Wanderers from local neighbours Wigan Athletic in the summer of 1995 following the club’s promotion to the Premiership but sadly never made his mark with his hometown club.

Limited to just 22 appearances in a five year stay with the Whites, he scored a solitary goal against York City in November 1997 but spent much of his time with the club on loan with the likes of Blackpool, Stoke City and Motherwell.

Joining the latter permanently in the millennium year for £150,000, he spent two years north of the border before returning to England with Hull City.

Again struggling for game time however, the defender was sent on temporary spells to the likes of Cheltenham, Scunthorpe and Bury, briefly returning to Scotland in 2005 before winding his career down with stints at Halifax, Northwich, Droylsden and Rhyl.

Where is he now?

He acted as the latter’s player/manager until last summer, leading them to Huws Gray Cup and Cymru Alliance successes before he departed the Welsh outfit by mutual consent.

Tal Ben Haim
July 2004 – June 2007

Earning himself a three-year contract following a successful trial with the club in the summer of 2004, Ben Haim in turf left behind his first club Maccabi Tel Aviv where he had previously won the Israeli League.

Making his debut against Charlton Athletic on the opening day of the 2004/05 campaign, from thereon in he cemented himself in both the Bolton starting eleven alongside figuring prominently for his country at senior level.

He also scored a solitary goal for the club against Tottenham Hotspur in February 2005, although he was certainly more famed for his defending ability.

Attracting a number of suitors for his performances in the white of Wanderers, the defender swapped Macron Stadium for Stamford Bridge as he became a Chelsea player following the expiration of his contract in 2007.

In the years since, the defender has played for Manchester City, Sunderland, Portsmouth, West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers, Standard Liege and last turned out in England for Charlton Athletic with whom he spent the 2014/15 season.

Where is he now?

The 34-year-old centre-half is now back at his first club, plying his trade in his homeland with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Shola Ameobi
October 2015 – January 2016

Although his stay with Wanderers was somewhat brief, Ameobi certainly endeared himself to the Bolton faithful in his short time at Macron Stadium.

Born in Zaria, Nigeria, the towering striker moved to Newcastle as a youngster and after joining the St James’ Park outfit, turned professional with the Magpies at the turn of the millennium.

Spending 14 years as a first-team player with the club, coupled with a brief loan spell at Stoke City, he departed United in the summer of 2014 and enjoyed brief spells with Turkish outfit Gaziantep BB and back on English shores with Crystal Palace before joining Bolton on a short term deal last October.

Scoring on his debut against Leeds United, injuries unfortunately limited his involvement for the most part but the frontman did bookend his stay in the perfect fashion when scoring late on against MK Dons in a 3-1 victory back in January.

Where is he now?

Linking up with Fleetwood Town following his release from Wanderers, the experienced forward scored one goal in ten appearances for the Highbury outfit with that effort coming against Gillingham. He is currently without a club.

Other Bolton No.26s include: Wayne Burnett, Leam Richardson, Emerson Thome, Ali Al-Habsi, Liam Feeney, Andy Hughes and Rob Lainton

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