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Like the vast majority of Bolton fans, we knew relatively nothing about Bolton's new loan man, Jacob Butterfield. We've asked some questions and got some answers to help you out.
None of us really know what kind of impact Jacob Butterfield will make (if he has one at all for Bolton) or how much action he'll really see (if any). We do want to know more about him though, about what kind of player he is and what he did in his time at Barnsley to deserve the plaudits he received. We spoke to Wilky of Barnsley FC Blog, On The Ponty End (a great resource for all things Tykes), about what it is that Jacob Butterfield, who spent the whole of his career at Barnsley before moving in the summer, can bring to Bolton Wanderers:
1) Can you describe what kind of midfielder Butterfield is? Will he spark the attack, go box to box, come in hard on the tackle, or some combination?
Butterfield is most effective in games where possession is held high up the pitch as he can retain the ball well and bring other players in to the game. He's definitely not a box-to-box midfielder, nor is defence his greatest strength, but he's accurate, has a high completion rate on passes, will provide plenty of assists and is not too scared to have a shot from distance when the opportunity arises.
2) We've been told that he was very, very good at Barnsley. What was it that made him good?
To be honest, he nearly didn't get his chance at Barnsley FC - after being largely ignored by Mark Robins during his tenure at Oakwell. Maybe it was a lack of confidence on his part regarding the ability of certain youth players at Barnsley and maybe that rubbed off on young Jacob. Keith Hill's attitude is completely different and has not only given our youngsters a platform to establish themselves, but has seemingly inspired them to perform better than many established professionals. Butterfield got his opportunity and he used it.
3) What did Barnsley lose when Butterfield injured his knee? What did his absence take away from the team?
In the game where Butterfield was cynically chopped down by Leeds United's Michael Brown we ran out winners without his creative spark in midfield. Fans maybe thought at first we could easily plug the gap. But with other influential players missing or leaving too, fans could begin to see the merits of Butterfield in the side and hoped that a new contract would see him blossom in to a Steven Gerard type character at the club, a starting point to gel together the future formation and personalities of the Reds for the next couple of seasons.
Like I have pointed out earlier. He can link up play extremely well and help team mates press the opposition. Goals from midfield are a real bonus and he has the potential to consistently bag 10 per season - if he's playing consistently. But equally, Jacob's injury and subsequent move to Norwich City has not been the catalyst for our poor form, there's a much bigger picture than just one player.
Finally, I ought to add. Butterfield may have been slightly naive to chase his Premiership dream at this stage. Whilst a loan move may be seen as a route to fitness, further injury at this level may annihilate his young dream. Championship teams had begun to target him and this lad needs looking after. I think Keith Hill understood that more than the player did himself.
Most fans wish him the very best of luck, however - if this was just about getting "game time" and fitness, we're perplexed that he hasn't opted to join his old mentor and help his "friends" turn our recent run of poor results around? Maybe it's more than that and already Butterfield feels he hasn't quite made it back from serious injury. Time will tell...