Just eight days after rejecting the chance to sign him, Bolton Wanderers have decided to hand Shola Ameobi the opportunity to impress in the Championship.
The Trotters would have been amongst the favourites to launch a bid for promotion this season, but they have endured a horrendous time thus far and currently prop up the second-tier standings. Much of their plight can be put down to their lack of sharpness in front of goal, having scored just nine times in their twelve matches, in which they have failed to score seven times.
Ameobi, who has spent the majority of his career at Newcastle United, became a free agent when he ended a brief spell at Crystal Palace at the end of last season. He has spent time training with Bolton in the hope of winning a contract, but manager Neil Lennon said just last week that he felt the 34-year-old was too similar to current attacking options Emile Heskey and Gary Madine.
This decision was made before the 2-0 defeat at Lancashire rivals Burnley, which was followed by a 1-0 loss at home to Birmingham City. This has now prompted Lennon to have a rethink on his existing frontline, and this has resulted in Ameobi – who scored 11 goals in 21 Championship matches for Newcastle in the 2009-10 season – being handed a short-term contract.
Former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, has spoken of his disappointment at their current situation. The 61-year-old recently appointed Sunderland boss spent seven years at the club as a player, and eight memorable years as a manager during which time they won promotion to the Premier League and had a top-six finish, before he left the club in the summer of 2007.
“There is a depression that lies over the club,” he told BBC Radio Manchester. “Neil’s job is to make sure they don’t get relegated this year. For me, the position they are in is devastating. If they can’t avoid relegation this season I think there would a huge question on whether they would get back to where they want to be, and that’s to compete to get back in the Premier League.”