CRAIG Dawson is hoping his loan spell at Bolton will give him the experience he needs to get more regular first-team football on his return to The Hawthorns.
The 22-year-old centre-half, who has not made a Barclays Premier League appearance for the Baggies this term, yesterday made the switch to the Reebok Stadium.
He is relishing the prospect of getting minutes under his belt in the Championship for the first time but admits he also faces stiff competition for a place at Wanderers.
“To keep developing I’ve got to be playing games,” said Dawson.
“I’ve not been able to quite get a first-team spot here because Jonas [Olsson] and Gareth [McAuley] have done really well.
“So, hopefully I can get some games at Bolton.
“It’s not going to be easy to get into the team there either.
“It’s a squad full of experienced Premier League players.
“It’s going to be a tough task but one I can hopefully do well.
“You’ve got to be playing games to improve and hopefully I can do that at Bolton and come back here and play games.”
Dawson is also eager to ensure he hits his best form ahead of this summer’s Under-21s European Championships.
And the Rochdale-born defender will return to the West Midlands on Tuesday week for England Under-21s’ friendly clash with Sweden at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium (see below for ticket details).
“It’s an important year for England Under-21s and hopefully we can start the year well with a win against Sweden,” he added.
“Hopefully my spell at Bolton will help me get my match sharpness and fitness up by playing as many games before the end of the season as I can ahead of the European Championships.
“It’s nice to have people’s backing for Under-21s player of the year.
“We’ve had a tight defence and it’s been a great team effort.”
England U21s v Sweden U21s ticket details:
£10 adults, £5 children, and £20 family ticket (two adults and two children). Tickets can be purchased by calling 01922 651416, buying online
from Walsall FC or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org