Manager: Neil Lennon League Position: 23rd
Overall: Played: 32; Won 4, Drawn 13, Lost 15; For 31, Against 53, GD: 22; Points 25
Last six away matches:
Charlton Athletic 2-2 Bolton Wanderers
Rotherham United 4-0 Bolton Wanderers
Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 Bolton Wanderers
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Bolton Wanderers
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-2 Bolton Wanderers
Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 Bolton Wanderers
Top scorer: Gary Madine – 5
Most assists: Liam Feeney – 5
Most starts: Ben Amos – 32
Worst discipline: Mark Davies – 8 yellow cards
Season so far
In the grand scheme of things, the football has come secondary this season. Frustrations have risen high with the playing staff on occasion yet you can bet that the majority of supporters at the Macron Stadium will take a relegation and financial security over survival and a continuation of the off-field problems that have resulted in the club reportedly being close to administration and possible closure.
It has been a difficult campaign off the field and results on it have not helped the situation. Unlike Northampton Town who have had similar financial troubles, Bolton’s players have lacked quality for their division and results have shown it. A seventeen game winless run followed their first victory of the campaign with Lennon finding himself under pressure as injuries piled up and naivety in both 18 yard boxes costing them dearly. Three wins in the last nine have taken them from the bottom of the division while only three home defeats has been a positive. Bolton have picked up just four points on the road. With the club in the process of being sold, debts likely to be largely wiped out and Lennon now capable of improving his team, they can finally begin to look up. Typically beginning at St.Andrews.
Bolton have reached the stage now where they are beginning to play for pride, play for the manager and play for the fans. The club have stuck by the players in recent times and the limited talent in the squad is finally beginning to show its fight and gain the luck it has lacked for a while. Problem is, they still cannot play away from home.
Bolton, like Rotherham cannot truly be identified under one category of performance this season. They are not a possession based outfit, not a direct, horrible outfit nor are they goal machines or hard to beat. They can generally mix it with sides in general play. It’s in both boxes that they lack the ruthlessness to truly gain results.
The club possess a defence that had proved to be naïve on several occasions, a lack of experience proving a huge downfall in the grand scheme of things. Mistakes are common in the defensive third and injuries have hardly helped from the point of view of consistency and stability. Prince and Dervite have looked most vulnerable from afar.
In the final third, a former (rumoured) Blues target in Gary Madine has been very guilty of missing some guilt edged chances. Liam Feeney has never been clinical in delivery or finishing while we are well aware of Emile Heskey’s credentials in front of goal.
They do have done players returning though, not least Zach Clough. The tiny attacker can produce moments of sheer brilliance and is the one shining light in a side built largely on commitment. Pratley, Danns and Davies add quality with the ball but consistent creativity is uncommon.
Expect Bolton to try and dominate the game in possession while giving away plenty of fouls when Blues do gain possession. Feeney and Wellington Silva are livewires and will aim to commit the full-backs at each opportunity. Defending the six-yard box will be critical while forward runs from Pratley will need to be picked up, be that through the centre or from a wide area.
Bolton are beginning to find the net with extra regularity. We have to make the most of any opportunities that come our way – Donaldson in particular.
Let us know your predictions for tonight’s game @bcfcfollowers!