Luton boss impressed by the success of Bolton's star striker after brief Blackpool stint together

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Northern Ireland international was part of Edwards’ first ever coaching session

Bolton Wanderers’ leading marksman Dion Charles has been praised for the way in which he has forged a successful career for himself by Luton chief Rob Edwards.

The 28-year-old came through the ranks at Blackpool in July 2013, which was where the Town chief, getting a first taste of coaching with the Tangerines youth side, first laid eyes on him. Charles then dropped into non-league with Fylde, having an unsuccessful spell at Fleetwood, as he needed further loans at Halifax and Southport to really kickstart his career. He then moved to Accrington Stanley in August 2019, scoring 30 goals in two and a half seasons, which saw Bolton Wanderers shell out £320,000 to sign him in January 2022.

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Charles scored eight goals in the remainder of that campaign, netting 21 times last term and is already up to 16 this year, spearheading the Trotters to second place in the division. Attracting the attention of Northern Ireland, Charles has gone on to win 22 caps for his country, with three goals as well, and if selected tomorrow, will provide a huge threat to the Town defence during their FA Cup third round tie.

Dion Charles looks to make a challenge for Bolton against Northampton Town - pic: Pete Norton/Getty ImagesDion Charles looks to make a challenge for Bolton against Northampton Town - pic: Pete Norton/Getty Images
Dion Charles looks to make a challenge for Bolton against Northampton Town - pic: Pete Norton/Getty Images

Speaking about the Trotters’ top scorer, Edwards said: “My first ever training session when I was going into coaching and retiring from playing, Richie (Kyle, assistant manager) had just taken a session at Blackpool. He was in charge of the U18s and Dion was in that session. I was watching and then did a little bit of finishing work with the forwards afterwards, so he was in the first ever training session that I was involved in or a part of. He’s gone on and done really well, he’s has to work really hard and earn it. He’s dropped down the levels and has fought hard to come back, he’s really excelling now and it’s nice to see. He’s a good player, a big threat,

It’s not just Charlies that Luton need to be wary of though, as second top scorer Victor Adeboyejo is on seven too. The free-scoring Wanderers have already put eight past Manchester United U21s in the EFL Trophy, hit seven against Exeter in the league and thrashed Harrogate in the FA Cup second round to set up the tie with Luton. Edwards continued: “Jon Dadi Bodvarsson I’ve worked with at Wolves and a lot of others have got real threats at the top end of the pitch.

"They like to control the game with the ball, similarities to a lot of what we come up against in our league anyway at the moment and I don’t see them changing their style. They look to try and impose themselves and look to try and play the way they do, so we’ve got to be right at it to try and make sure they can’t.”

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With Bolton a club with some serious momentum at the moment, going close to promotion to the Championship last term, only to lose in the play-offs to Barnsley, they are now looking to miss that stage and go up automatically this season, as they trail leaders Portsmouth by just two points with two games in hand. Speaking about the opposition his side will face, Edwards added: “They’re a really good team, well coached and good players. Okay they’ve got a very, very good history, but the here and the now they’re performing well and are on the up.

"They’ll be coming here confident, pressure off as well and they’ll want to go and show that they’re good enough to compete with a team that’s in the Premier League at the moment. So they’ll be really motivated to do that and we’ve got to make sure we match that.”