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Zat Knight says he is ready to take centre stage at Bolton, with the likely exit of £17 million-rated Gary Cahill meaning he could be required to become the club's defensive lynchpin.

• Bolton blog: Something please happen

Knight has been at Bolton for three years and, after a shaky start to his Trotters career, has produced some of his best form.

"Every game I've been selected I have played 90 minutes, so it shows the manager and his staff have got trust in me," he told the Bolton News. "Hopefully, that will stand me in good stead for next season.

"My first season here was stop-start. I didn't want to use the excuse of changing clubs but it was a different environment, and everywhere you go, you have got to get used to certain things.

"When the new manager came in, there was a change, and hopefully people saw that in me. It was upsetting getting injured in February but I got back and stamped my place in the team. It's nice when the manager trusts in you that much."

Should Cahill leave this summer - Arsenal or Tottenham are thought to be the most likely destinations - Knight and David Wheater would be the club's only fit senior centre-halves, but Knight believes that they can fill the gap.

"There's a lot of speculation about Gaz going here and there, and what will happen will happen," he said. "But I know that Wheater is a good defender and expectations are high for him.

"He's had a little taste of things in the England set-up and I do believe he'd like to get back to that level. Me and Gaz have held down the centre-back spot but it's for him to keep doing what he's doing.

"We bought him for a reason. The manager thinks he's good enough if anything were to happen to me or Gaz, or there was a loss of form. Next season he'll have been there from the start, so that will be a big challenge for him."


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