Bolton Wanderers didn’t get their first win of the campaign until the 5th October away at Birmingham. It signalled the end of a 10 game winless run that saw them rooted in the relegation zone and Dougie Freedman’s men had scored just seven goals in that period. Since that elusive first win they have gone on an unbeaten run into the current international break, with two more wins and two draws climbing the Trotters up-to a more respectable 17th place. But that surely isn’t enough for the Lancashire side that spent 11 consecutive years in the Premier League before the previous year. Last season they missed the play-off’s on goal difference after a poor start, and this season there is still hope that they can do it again and go one step further, a belief that this writer believes is very much achievable.
Bolton’s poor start can be attributed by the fact that key players Stuart Holden and Mark Davies have had injuries. It’s questionable whether Holden will be back in a Bolton shirt ever again let alone this season, but Davies is building his fitness up and will be back sooner or later to strengthen Bolton’s cause. The likes of Tim Ream, Matt Mills and Jay Spearing epitomise what Dougie Freedman’s teams are about, tenacity and ruthfulness. But that isn’t to say they can’t play the beautiful game, Andre Moritz, Darren Pratley and Chris Eagles attest to that.
Their resurgence collides with the form of the improving Jermaine Beckford who scored his first goal of the season in Bolton’s first win at St Andrews. In the five game unbeaten run including that win, he has scored four goals and it shows that Bolton’s failure to win in the first ten games was down to mis-firing strikers. They have been defeated in just five games this season and in two of those they lost 1-0, while they have drawn seven games, the second highest total in the league. It is often the teams that are able to turn draws into wins that go up and it’s something Bolton have struggled with this season.
Jermaine Beckford isn’t the only striker at the Reebok to fail to impress with David N’Ggog scoring just one goal in eleven appearances this season. His first came two weeks ago and it is now hoped that he can go on a similar run Beckford is currently on. If those two can forge a decent partnership then there is every chance Bolton will start to climb the table, past the play-offs, and into the top two.