Boss Ian Evatt welcomed a major shift in Wanderers’ pre-season preparations as they secured a 3-1 win at Curzon Ashton.
The Whites conceded their first goal of pre-season when the National League North side scored from the penalty spot early in the second half.
But Evatt’s men – helped by first goals for the club from Josh Dacres-Cogley and Cameron Jerome – were comfortable winners at the Tameside Stadium as they continue to step up their fitness levels ahead of the new campaign.
“It was a huge step forward. It was much more like it and I thought we looked more sharp and crisp with our work,” said Evatt after his side backed up their opening 1-0 win over Bamber Bridge.
“The first half hour, in particular, was excellent. It was much better than Saturday and that’s what we want during pre-season, progression, and we’ll try and step forward again this Saturday.
“Some of the patterns we have been working on were there for all to see. I still want some more productivity from the good areas we get into it.
“Productivity is something we need to improve on but I think there were really positive signs.
“Cameron was excellent in the second half. His worth ethic was fantastic and it was a really good finish.
“Josh has really excited us from the minute he walked in the door. He’s put in some really good performances in the training and now into the games and hopefully he will still improve and take that forwards.”
Wanderers were without captain Ricardo Almeida Santos, striker Dan Nlundulu (eye infection) and wing-back Declan John (ankle) after confirming earlier in the day that defender George Johnston is sadly facing a season-long absence with a knee injury.
However, Santos is expected back for Saturday’s trip to Chester following his enforced absence due to a family illness and Wanderers are striving to strengthen their squad before the EFL season starts on 5 August.
“All of a sudden we are a bit stretched,” added Evatt. “We are working really hard to improve the squad with recruitment. We need a little bit of patience at the moment to make sure we get the right ones.
“We’ve just got little bits of illness and little bits of niggles which at this stage we’re not going to take the risk with but we will be ready again for Saturday.”
Wanderers did welcome back one familiar face at Curzon Ashton, with former loan goalkeeper James Trafford there to support his ex-team-mates after playing a starring role in England’s success in the U21 European Championships.
“It was brilliant to see him,” said Evatt. “Just the smile on his face. I’m so proud of him and what’s achieved. It’s great that he’s gone on to do those brilliant things and we thank him for those 18 months he spent with us. He was excellent and we were excellent for him.
"He’s a Bolton Wanderers’ fan now. He's already talking about international breaks and if he's not involved with England he's going to come on some away days. He thinks the world of us and we think the world of him."