New recruit Zac Ashworth believes he is in the perfect place to take the next step of his career after joining Wanderers.
Ashworth has agreed a season-long loan at the Toughsheet Community Stadium, with the Whites also having the option to sign the defender from Championship side West Bromwich Albion on a permanent basis.
The 20-year-old’s switch could end a lengthy association with Albion, where he spent all his youth career and made a first-team debut in January, 2022.
And he believes the time is right to take on a new challenge as Wanderers’ sixth new arrival of the summer.
“It could have been a comfortable option to stay there (at West Brom) but I’m excited to take a risk and join another massive club and I can’t wait to get started,” said Ashworth.
“When I was a little boy I grew up supporting West Brom and I always have. West Brom will always be close to my heart but this is a new chapter for me, I’m excited to be here and I can’t wait to get into the season and help push on.
“I’m still only 20 so I have a lot of improving to do. I’ve got no doubt I can get better and better here, especially under the manager who really impressed me in the time I spoke to him.
“I’ve got a lot of learning to do and improvements to make but I think this is the best place I could be to do that.”
Ashworth arrives at Wanderers with League One knowledge under his belt following a successful stay at Burton Albion in the second half of last season.
The left-sided defender and Wales U21 international started 16 games for the Brewers from the end of January onwards.
He helped Burton move up from 23rd place to 15th spot and safety during his time at the Pirelli Stadium and believes that experience - including an appearance against Wanderers - has given him an ideal grounding for hopefully competing at the other end of the table.
“I think it was crucial. Every young player has to experience that first loan and I really enjoyed my time there,” Ashworth added.
“I did well and the team did well. To gain that experience hopefully made me a better player and now I’m excited to try and push on to the other side of the table and, hopefully, be part of a team pushing for promotion.
“I had to learn quickly. It was straight in at the deep end. To pick up as many points as we did was a great achievement and I’m hoping to use that sort of experience and knowledge and that taste of League One to push on and be better.
“I remember thinking Bolton were probably one of the best teams I played against in the second half of the season.
“The fans sold out the away end on a Tuesday night and thinking back to that game makes me even more excited to get started and experience the same but as a Bolton player.
“It’s such an honour to join this club and a club that, in my opinion, is a bigger club than League One, so hopefully I can be part of the squad to push the club and the fans back to where they want to be.”