Joe is a product of the Bolton Wanderers youth system, who made his competitive first-team debut in 2011-12 at the age of 19 in a League Cup tie against Macclesfield Town. Riley went on to make his Premier League debut at right-back in a 5–0 victory over Stoke City at the Reebok Stadium on 6th November 2011, in which he went on to receive a standing ovation by the Bolton fans when he was substituted late in the game. After starting the next game against West Brom, Riley suffered a hamstring injury, which disrupted his debut season and restricted his progress within the team.
The 22-year-old defender, who describes himself as an attacking full-back, spent a 5 month loan spell at Oxford United
, making 22 appearances. Joe’s introduction into the Shakers side last season was a fruitful one as he not only walked away with the clubs goal of the season, following a stunning strike against Shrewsbury Town, but also collected a promotion medal at the end of the campaign.