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Dapo Delight At Goal Habit

In-form frontman happy to be following in hero's footsteps

15 October 2021

Dapo Afolayan aims to keep copying one of his boyhood heroes by continuing to find the route to goal for Wanderers.

Afolayan has made a flying start to the season with his seven goals so far making him Wanderers’ top scorer.

His two most recent efforts – delightfully curled into the bottom corner of the net after cutting in off Bolton’s left flank to help secure wins over Charlton and Shrewsbury – were likened to Thierry Henry-style finishes by Bolton boss Ian Evatt.

Praise indeed, and Afolayan is more than happy with the comparison after forming early memories of Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer.

“It’s someone I grew up watching. I was a big Arsenal fan growing up and used to watch him do that most weeks,” said the London-born wideman, who is delighted with his start to the campaign after signing a permanent deal with the Whites in the summer.

Afolayan goal.jpg

“It’s just a position of the pitch I’m finding myself in.

“I’ve shown I can score different types of goals this season, it’s just I have been in that position quite a few times and when I am I feel like it’s the right decision to make.

“I’ve been doing it quite well – so hopefully it continues.

“I worked really hard in the off-season and made sure that I came back here as good, if not better than I was last year.

“I think I had a good loan spell here last year and making it permanent was good for me - knowing the surroundings and expectations of the club and knowing how much it means to the fans.

“For me, it’s just re-paying that faith.”

The Wanderers’ fans will certainly be willing on Afolayan and his team-mates on Saturday when they take on local rivals Wigan Athletic at the University of Bolton Stadium.

The return of the derby is an eagerly-awaited one following Bolton’s promotion last season.

Dapo Afolaya celebration.jpg

And after a taster in the Carabao Cup in August – Wigan winning on penalties following a 0-0 draw at the DW Stadium – there will be even more at stake with both sides chasing points at the top end of League One.

“There have been about 10 teams tipped for promotion and only three are going to go up,” added Afolayan, who will be looking to help Wanderers move to within a point of the third-placed Latics following a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday last weekend.

“There are almost half the games that are vital games where you are looking to take points off another promotion rival.

“I think this week is no different – as last week was because Sheffield Wednesday are probably tipped up to go up as well this season.

“We have to trust in what we are doing and make sure we are going out there performing to get the right results.

“We have to make sure we do that justice and give an appropriate performance.

“It’s a game that means a lot to the club – whether it’s the players or the supporters.

“It’s been a while for fans to be in the stadium and to experience games like this.

“It would mean a lot to them and it would mean a lot to us as a group, as players and staff, so we need to go out there and put in a performance the fans can be proud of.”


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