Ian Evatt believes Liam Gordon has earned his place back in the Bolton Wanderers squad because of the hard work he has put in both out on loan and so far in pre-season ahead of the new League One campaign.

The 22-year-old signed a two-year deal at the University of Bolton Stadium last summer as part of a recruitment drive.

He began last season as the club's first choice left back, but was unable to make the position his own and was last in a Wanderers League Two match day squad for the win in mid-November over Salford City.

He later signed on loan with former club Dagenham and Redbridge and ended up playing 23 times for the Daggers in the National League, scoring four goals.

Gordon made 15 appearances for Bolton before moving out on loan last season just before Christmas.

He has since returned to the club and has played an active part so far in the club's pre-season fixture schedule, impressing in the left-back role and emerging as competition for Declan John for the role.

Evatt has vowed that Gordon is now back in his plans, but believes the player himself has earned that right thanks to his time out on loan and the work he has put in so far in pre-season.

The Bolton manager said: "Liam is back in my plans because of Liam and Liam’s gone and earnt that.

"He’s gone out on loan and had his head down and worked really hard and played really well. Then he’s come back in pre-season and done really well as well.

"The whole point of our recruitment has been to get stuff done early and have more or less two players for every position. We’ve got Declan and now we’ve got Liam that’s looks like he’s going to put up a fight for that position, which is exactly what we need and want.

"He’s a young player but he’s learning all the time. He’s understanding what’s required, he still needs to be fitter, there’s no two ways about that, but the tactical detail and his possession stuff has been great.

"He’s physically strong and dominant so he can defend as well. He has the attributes, it’s just him knuckling down, keeping his head down and working hard to improve his game.

“We play with full-backs but they are predominantly attackers and more or less wing backs.

"I thought Liam against Preston North End was his best game in a Bolton shirt, if you take into account the opposition and the level of detail and quality that he added to his game.

"Without giving too much away, I study the top of the game a hell of a lot and what they do, the best managers and coaches with their full backs, and they can be a real asset and a real powerhouse.

"You can create overloads in midfield. You can get them on the last line attacking. There’s lots of different scenarios that we can do and I use to try and affect the opposition.

"Particularly against three at the back and when you’re playing against a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3, our 4-3-3 formation can really cause teams problems if you get that detail and that tactical detail right."