Bolton's backbone

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The Independent Online
Alan Stubbs

Age 23. Position Central defender.

One of the great hopes of the English game. Terry Venables has recognised his potential, giving him an England B appearance against Northern Ireland in midfield to see just how comfortable he was on the ball, which will also be examined against Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler today. "He has composure, good vision, and he's a good passer of the ball with either foot," says his manager Bruce Rioch. The bidding will start at £3m this summer.

Jason McAteer

Age 23. Position Midfield.

Like Stubbs, a Liverpudlian. Began his career with non-League Marine and was transferred to Bolton for £500. They will expect more than 500 times that when they are ready to sell him. Operates in the centre of midfield but many feel his best position is wide on the right, where he plays for Ireland. "He can run from six-yard box to six-yard box," says Rioch. " He has pace, good control and a good first touch. The only thing he could improve is his finish."

John McGinlay

Age 30. Position Striker.

Top scorer with 17 this season, four in the Coca-Cola Cup; last season he equalled Nat Lofthouse's club record of 33. Late developer, who was with Shrewsbury and Bury before Rioch, his former manager at Millwall, brought him to Burnden Park. Strong in the air, despite being only 5ft 9in, and a snaffler of half-chances. Main doubts are his temperament and whether he will have recovered from Scotland's arduous trip to Russia in midweek.

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