We knew that Marc Tierney's absence (the result of a fractured foot suffered against Yeovil Town) would be a while. We were told right from the off that it would be "months." There's a more precise figure now, thanks to a report from the Bolton News. Per that report, Tierney is set to miss at least five months after seeing a specialist and ultimately undergoing surgery to repair the fracture near his ankle. His absence, as we've discussed in depth before, leaves Bolton without a true left back.
While the options to cover Marc Tierney aren't ideal in that Bolton Wanderer don't have a player that is naturally in that position with professional experience on their books, they certainly are not bad.
Immediately after Tierney's injury at the weekend, Bolton Wanderers did not have a full back on the bench and the only defender that could come into the match was Zat Knight. Tim Ream was in the center of the defense on the day but moved to left back in order to accommodate Knight's inclusion. Although Bolton Wanderers did allow a goal at the end of the match, it was difficult to blame it on the defense. The ball came in from the Trotters' right flank to the center of the field at the edge of the area. Jay Spearing was the man marking but Ed Upson got a shot off that Adam Bogdan fumbled. It wasn't Tim Ream's first time in the position, having played there in pre-season on a pair of occasions, looking mostly comfortable.
On Tuesday night at Blackpool, it was Alex Baptiste who took up the role with Ream back in the center of the park. Baptiste had previously showed up at left back in the loss at Blackburn Rovers, the one match Tierney missed earlier in the campaign. On that day, Baptiste looked shaky at best against a strong Rovers attack and it created some nervous feelings ahead of the Blackpool match.
It seems that like he did in his natural right position, Baptiste had just needed some time to grow into the role on the opposite flank. Against Blackpool, he looked as composed as he needed to be and his performance was instrumental in denying the Seasiders a home goal. There does not look to be a need to disrupt the Tim Ream and Matt Mills pairing in the center of defense and this could well see Baptiste get additional minutes on the left with new boy Kevin McNaughton impressing on the right.
Bolton Wanderers will surely miss Marc Tierney but that doesn't mean that they will be left for dead.