Bolton Wanderers’ new boy Jack Iredale on culture shift after Cambridge move

Jack Iredale has hardly had time to draw breath since making his move to Wanderers.

The Australian defender – currently Bolton’s only new permanent signing of the transfer window – was glad of the chance to sit down and chat with the local media in Portugal after what has already been a hectic summer.

Since signing from Cambridge United, Iredale jetted out to Perth, Australia, to visit family and friends whilst simultaneously hunting down a new home in the North West.

No sooner had he touched back down in the UK, than he was back on a plane again, this time joining his new team-mates in Portugal for a week-long intensive training camp.

“It has been pretty full on,” he smiled. “I am glad that I could get signed and do the medical at the end of the season because it has basically given me the whole off-season to get done what I needed to do.

“I went home for a couple of weeks, now here, it was straight back into it and I am also getting everything off the pitch sorted as well, along with pre-season.

“But I am lucky to be out here and using these facilities for training, so I am trying to make the most of it!”

As the only new signing in the group, Iredale also had worked to do off the training pitch in Lagos, making sure he got to know the players he will be alongside in League One this season.

He did have one ally in the camp – his former Carlisle United colleague Gethin Jones – and Iredale says the transition between dressing rooms has been a smooth one.

“Getting thrown at the deep end basically spending 24 hours a day with the boys. I’ve been made to feel super welcome and I already feel a part of the group as well so I thank the boys for that and helping me trying to hit the ground running,” he said.

Geth’s been looking after me. I said before that as soon as I heard about the interest I was straight on the phone to Geth and he was only saying ‘just come to the club’ basically.

“If there’s anything I need, I can chat to Geth, but now I know a couple of the other boys as well. They’ve all been really accommodating.”

Iredale has a backstory filled with challenges he has met head on. Not only did he come through a series of major injuries as a teenage he also manages a football career as a type one diabetic.

The 26-year-old first arrived in the UK playing at Greenock Morton in Scotland, moving south to Carlisle and Cambridge via a brief loan spell with Queen’s Park.

It was at the Abbey Stadium that he really found his groove, helping Mark Bonner’s side out of League Two alongside Wanderers in 2021 and then to a comfortable mid-table finish last season.

“I always knew that I had the ability to be able to do it,” he said of his quick rise. “It was just trying to find the environment that would let me do that.

“Obviously the journey I’ve been on through the injuries and then trying to get my foot in the door and get myself a base and go on from there. I started a bit later than most boys would but I’ve been here for five years now in the UK and the last two seasons I spent at Cambridge especially were instrumental in my development.

“The first half of the season at Carlisle as well, it gave me the platform to be able to get noticed and recognized by a club as big as Bolton and now I’m just happy to be here as well.”

Iredale needed little convincing by Jones, or anyone else, that a move to Bolton would be desirable and his first week training under Ian Evatt and Pete Atherton’s gaze has been an eye-opener.

“It’s a little bit of a culture shift and mentality shift, but it’s setting standards and demands that are super high and it’s up to me to meet those standards,” he said. “The standard at training and the standard of the other players as well has been really good and a training environment like this is only going to help me develop as well.”

Wanderers fly back to the UK at the end of the week and start their pre-season schedule with a short trip to Longridge Town on Tuesday night.

For Bolton’s new signing, it is unlikely to be a weekend spent with his feet up. He has plans to move closer to the town once he can find the right property and might even start trying out some Lancashire dialect to fit in with the locals.

“I’ve got about five different accents at the minute, it just depends on who I’m talking to at this stage!” I have laughed. “I’m planning on moving to the area. My girlfriend will be coming down with me as soon as she can and we’ve got a dog as well, so just trying to find the best place for all of us to be in one spot, but as soon as possible ideally, I’ d like to get a place set up and get us all together.

“I’d booked to go home before I knew that I was going to be coming here so it didn’t give me the chance to be able to move to the area before I went home. Now it’s juggling pre-season and trying to get a base set up off the pitch as well.

“I told my girlfriend what she was signing up for and I don’t think she quite realized! Ella she’s happy as long as we’re all in the one place and I’m happy with the same thing as well so we’ll get ourselves set up nice and quick and we’ll get ready. ”

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