Wanderers have secured their first external recruits for the club’s newly-formed ‘B’ team with Nelson Khumbeni and Lynford Sackey both signing up.
Midfielder Khumbeni joins after leaving Norwich City, while Sackey – who can play in a variety of right-sided roles – arrives from Reading.
The pair, who are both 19, will start life with Wanderers as part of the ‘B’ squad introduced this season as a potential stepping stone to the senior squad.
Wanderers have established a strong home-grown core with the five new first-year professionals likely to be involved – along with the likes of Adam Senior, Finlay Lockett and Luke Hutchinson – under the guidance of coach Matt Craddock and player-coach Andrew Tutte.
That will be strengthened by promising young talent targeted from elsewhere, with the chance for young players to make a mark in the ‘B’ side in the Central League and hand-picked friendly fixtures and potentially progress to the first-team ranks.
They will include Sackey (above) and Khuembi, who will report for the start of pre-season training with Craddock’s squad next week.
The pacy Sackey, who has played as a full-back and in a more attacking right-sided position, progressed through the Academy system at Reading to earn a professional deal with the Championship club.
A regular for the U23 side, he also made two first-team appearances for the Royals, including a full debut in the EFL Cup last season.
“Reading have done a lot for me but I’m glad this opportunity has come,” said Sackey.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I had some interest elsewhere but I felt plan-wise and ethics-wise here was the perfect place for me to come to and I’m really glad Bolton have given me the opportunity to come here.
“Some of the staff at Reading talked to me about Bolton and it’s a good place to be at the moment.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the journey and going up and up.”
Khumbeni (above) had been at Norwich since the age of eight and impressed during training and a trial game at Wanderers at the end of last season.
A technical, defensive midfield player comfortable in possession, he is now looking to take the next career step with Wanderers.
“Norwich has been a good place to develop and learn my craft and I’m looking forward to kicking on here at Bolton to grow as a person and grow as a player,” said Khumbeni, who made the first of three EFL Trophy appearances for the Canaries as a 17-year-old and also featured regularly in Premier League 2 with Norwich’s U23s.
“Being at a place for so long, you maybe need a change of environment in order to improve and realise this is what you’d like to do.
“I came over here and loved everything I’ve seen. The stadium is amazing, the training ground is a good place to improve as a player and everyone has been welcoming.
“A lot of young players have had a chance here with the manager trusting them and putting a lot of faith in them,
“The team is trying to go onwards and upwards and it’s probably the best time for me coming here.”