Wanderers Add Crainey To First-Team Staff

Ian Evatt welcomes Stephen Crainey

Bolton Wanderers are delighted to confirm the appointment of Stephen Crainey as the club’s new Joint Assistant Manager.

Crainey’s arrival sees the former Scotland international become a key addition to Ian Evatt’s existing backroom staff ahead of the 2024/25 EFL season.

The 43-year-old brings a wealth of coaching and playing experience to Wanderers and is seen as a pivotal appointment to aid the Whites in the coming campaign and beyond.

Crainey – who joins Wanderers after ending a spell as first-team coach at Wigan Athletic – will work under Evatt and alongside fellow assistant manager Peter Atherton, first-team coach Matt Craddock and goalkeeping coach Matt Gilks.

Evatt – a promotion winner to the Premier League as a player alongside Crainey at Blackpool – believes the former Fleetwood Town manager will add further strength to his coaching team following an assessment of the club’s personnel and infrastructure over the summer.

“After some pretty lengthy reviewing of the season, we have a clear plan and idea of how we want to improve things on and off the pitch and this appointment is in addition to what we already have. I think now as a staffing structure we've got all boxes ticked,” said the Wanderers’ boss.

Stephen Crainey arrival

“In the review of every season you think about how we can improve, how we get better and what are we missing in terms of our staffing skill set.

“We've had discussions about having a more holistic approach to the staff and the skill set I feel we are missing Stephen, who I have known for a long, long time, can provide.

“He’s an extremely good character, a strong character who knows what it takes to win and will be extremely additive to the rest of the staff, so I think it’s a very important appointment for us.”

Crainey played alongside both Evatt and Gilks in a hugely successful spell at Blackpool, as the trio helped Ian Holloway’s side win promotion to the Premier League in 2010.

The left-back made 228 appearances for Blackpool in a six-year stay from 2007 after signing from Leeds United.

Crainey previously played over 50 times for Celtic, helping the club win two Scottish League titles and the 2001 Scottish League Cup before enjoying a brief taste of the Premier League with Southampton.

Capped 12 times by his country, Crainey also played for Wigan and Fleetwood Town before launching his coaching career at Fleetwood.

Moving through the Academy ranks at the Highbury Stadium, he took charge of the first team in December, 2021 and as manager guided Town to League One safety at the end of that season.

Crainey then joined Wigan in September 2022 as Professional Development Phase Coach and was subsequently promoted to the position of first-team coach under Shaun Maloney at the DW Stadium before making the switch to Wanderers in time for the return of the players for pre-season testing and training on Thursday.

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