Gary Megson has reiterated his fears that Bolton face another season of struggle if they fail to bolster their squad significantly in the summer.
After four successive top-eight finishes between 2004 and 2007, the Trotters have languished in the lower half of the Barclays Premier League for the past two years. Safety was assured after a fraughtÂ battle with relegation last termÂ but Megson's side head to Wigan on Saturday still seeking to cement their top-flight status for a ninth successive year.
"We haven't got one of the smallest squads in the Premier League - it's THE smallest squad," Megson claimed. "I think Liverpool have got 62 professionals on their books and we have 27, although I had a head count and couldn't get it up to 27. I think three or four got slipped in there."
He added: "It's important that we make sure we're safe first and then we'll assess the season and look at what needs to be done.
"Player recruitment will certainly be one of the issues that will be addressed."
Megson has generally impressed with his spending since replacing the hapless Sammy Lee in October 2007.
Gary Cahill and Matt Taylor - both tipped to win full England international honours - and Gretar Steinsson were boughtÂ in January 2008 and played a key role in the club's survival last term.
In the summer Megson persuaded the club to spend Â£10million on Sweden striker Johan Elmander and pay Â£5million for Birmingham midfielder Fabrice Muamba.
The jury remains out on those two butÂ Megson said: "I've been pleased with all of my signings because they joined a club that wasn't on the up. It was going the other way to be perfectly honest.
"A lot of change has happened in the past 18 months but we still need more change becauseÂ the squad still isn't strong enough."
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