Bolton Wanderers are seemingly in a race against the clock to retain Stephen Warnock's services. The left back is due to return to Aston Villa following Saturday's match against Peterborough unless the Trotters and Aston Villa can agree terms to keep him at the Reebok longer. Since moving to the Reebok Stadium on September 21, Warnock has started 14 of the 16 matches he was in contention for.
The loan move was overwhelmingly positive for all parties due to a number of reasons. Bolton Wanderers needed a solid left back and while Marcos Alonso remains a prospect, he is still horribly inconsistent. Aston Villa had a 30-year-old fullback on their book that was well out of favor with current manager Paul Lambert. Stephen Warnock was nowhere near getting game time with Villa and needed a move away.
While Warnock hasn't been mistake-free, he has certainly helped shore up what was a very leaky defense, especially since the arrival of Dougie Freedman. The prospect of returning to Villa is a bleak one for Warnock as he has fallen to the third or fourth spot in their pecking order, behind the likes of Eric Lichaj and Joe Bennett.
The Bolton News has suggested that Bolton have offered to increase the percentage of wages that they are paying Warnock. His hefty asking price (a reported £2 million plus a relative lot of money in wages) has already ruled out a sale for Bolton unless both Warnock and Villa lower their demands.
Should Warnock have to return to Aston Villa, Marcos Alonso is the team's only other natural left back. Sam Ricketts has also played in the position numerous times but that would prove dangerous for Bolton as he is establishing himself in the center of defense alongside Zat Knight.