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Bolton Wanderers League One Odds: Ian Evatt's men 3/1 to avenge Wembley no-show

Bolton missed out on promotion from League One after fluffing their lines in the play-off final at Wembley and are 3/1 to get it right next season.

Bolton League One odds

League One

To Win Outright

There is never an easy way to miss out on promotion but Bolton were rightly devastated to blow their golden opportunity to make it back to the Championship.

The Trotters, superb all season, had given top two Portsmouth and Derby a run for their money and were solid favourites to take the third promotion place via the play-offs.

Then, having seen off Barnsley over two legs in their semi-final, they promptly produced - in manager Ian Evatt's words - their worst display of the season at Wembley to lose 2-0 against a jubilant Oxford.

It was no hard-luck story - they had been comprehensively outplayed, and that means they will be lining up once again in the third tier in August, hoping that they can learn the lessons from Wembley and use that to inspire them to promotion.

At 9/1 to win League One and 3/1 to be promoted, they are certainly among the main contenders as these former Premier League regulars seek to end what will become a six-year exile from the Championship.

Five years after almost being expelled from the Football League, it's hard, of course, to get too downbeat over near-misses on the pitch. This was a club that so nearly went out of existence like neighbours Bury, and not so long ago.

But back-to-back play-off flops are a reality that Evatt won't want to see repeated. This is a club which has spent 85 percent of its history in the top two divisions so isn't used to lingering at this level.

And expectations from one of the division's larger fanbases will be higher than ever, even if three powerhouse sides have dropped down from the Championship while moneybags Wrexham and Stockport have come up. Add the likes of Barnsley, Peterborough, Charlton and others into the mix and winning promotion will be no easy task.

Evatt has certainly been backed by chairwoman Sharon Brittan and the board and he now needs to go out and buy one or two players in key areas to help take the next step.

Paris Maghoma, for example, has returned to Brentford after a superb season on loan and needs replacing, while Evatt could do with another target-man striker with Cameron Jerome and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson released.

They also conceded 51 goals - more than the likes of Lincoln or Stevenage - which suggests that while there is much to like in players of the calibre of keeper Nathan Baxter and defenders Eoin Toal and Josh Dacres-Cogley, they were too easily unpicked.

Deadline day signing Aaron Collins had only a few months to show he was worth the £750,000 the club shelled out for him and nine goals and flashes of quality suggest a future frontline will be built around him.

Bolton were excellent last season, the best side in the division according to many who played against them.

But they didn't go up.

It's a tough school, League One, and the new arrivals, from above and below, suggest it could well be tougher still in '24/25.

The Trotters have fluffed their lines once on the biggest stage of all. They've got the best part of 12 months to put that right and win the promotion they will feel is well overdue.

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