NEWPORT’S Aaron Collins is showing why Bolton splashed the cash to boost their League One promotion bid, says Wanderers boss Ian Evatt.

Collins, who moved from Bristol Rovers in January for a reported £750,000, struck three times for the third-placed Wanderers in their 5-2 win over Reading on Monday.

The 26-year-old striker opened the scoring after 11 minutes, converted a penalty in first-half stoppage time and completed his treble 13 minutes from time.

“Aaron is capable of magic moments and that first goal was a bit special,” said Evatt. “He showed why we paid the money for him.

“With all of our January signings since I have been here, it is always the second season you see the benefit of them.

“That will be the case with Aaron as well. We have signed him for the long term and we know he is capable of special things.

“He is getting used to how we play, and he is playing within the structure more now which is good.”

Collins, who had scored two previous goals for the Wanderers, came through the ranks at County and made his EFL debut in 2015 before earning a move to Wolves.

He returned to Rodney Parade for a loan spell in 2018 before impressing with Forest Green Rovers and then the Gas, who he fired to League One with a hot streak in 2022.

Another former Exile is shining for Bolton – Wales midfielder Josh Sheehan made his 100th appearance for the club against Reading.

The playmaker moved to the north west in 2021 and has been in superb form after returning from a serious knee injury.

Sheehan is joint second in the third tier for assists with 12 while the 29-year-old has also chipped in with two goals.