Bolton manager Owen Coyle is convinced Chris Eagles is a better player now than when he snapped the midfielder up from Manchester United three years ago.
Eagles went on to make 143 appearances in three seasons for the Clarets, including a highly promising campaign in the Premier League. The Scot decided not to raid his old club last summer when he was searching for reinforcements at Bolton, he went back to Turf Moor last month to snap up the 25-year-old.
With Saturday's Barclays Premier League encounter with newly-promoted QPR at Loftus Road now given the green light, Eagles is set to make his second debut for Coyle, with his manager adamant the player has made rapid strides. Coyle said: "He is a better player now. That was three years ago and he has picked up a lot along the way."
He added: "There is no doubt he has got better year on year. He is desperate to do well and he will get the opportunity to play here."
Having played an integral role in the development of Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge over the last two seasons, Coyle knows a failure to make a mark at one of England's leading clubs should not necessarily be viewed as a failure.
Although the stays of Wilshere and Sturridge were short-term compared to the three-year contract Eagles has signed, and the latter man is substantially older, Coyle believes it is merely a question of the player finding his level.
In Eagles' case, that might not be the Champions League. Coyle does feel he is worthy of a top flight place though.
"There is no shame in being unable to force yourself into Manchester United's starting XI," he said. "Chris was part of the United first-team squad when I signed him.
"In fact, I agreed a deal for him before he went on a pre-season tour to South Africa. He ended up being top scorer.
"I don't know if Sir Alex thought about changing his mind but he had given me his word and the transfer went through."