By just about all standards, the first half of Bolton's 2012/2013 season was awful. Bolton are languishing in the bottom half of the table and are closer to relegation than they are to promotion. Bolton's 16th place in the nPower Championship table is actually a fair depiction of where the team belongs as they are middle-of-the-pack in terms of goals scored and bottom third in goals conceded. There have been some good performances this season but nothing resounding. Unfortunately, the bad performances have shown too much.
Still, despite all that, we have to ask who Bolton's player of the first half of the season was and believe it or not, there are a few contenders to wade through.
Fourth Place - Zat Knight
Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that Zat Knight would have been Bolton's best defender. He's played in 21 of 24 possible games and gone the full 90 in each of those. Knight has also helped marshall the likes of Tim Ream, Matt Mills, and Sam Ricketts but unfortunately, it has not translated to many clean sheets.
Third Place - Jay Spearing
Spearing sadly isn't permanently a Bolton player, at least not yet. His one goal won't win any awards either but you absolutely cannot doubt Jay Spearing's drive and determination while in a Bolton shirt. He really is a midfield bulldog that is often in the right place at the right time to help correct the mistakes that Bolton's leaky defense makes. There has (unfortunately) been way more than one occasion where Jay Spearing seems to be the only one on the pitch that cares.
Runner Up - Kevin Davies
The big man still has his detractors but his goal tally and ability to score them at vital moments cannot be discounted. Kevin Davies has already equalled his goal tally for the whole of last season with six and has provided an additional five assists. Davies has played in all but one game this season and Bolton Wanderers have not lost a game in which he has scored this season (three wins, two draws).
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Winner - Chris Eagles
The winger has been ever-present in the Bolton Wanderers side this season. He has played in every game of the season and started in all but one (the season's first match, a loss to Burnley). His seven goals on the season still lead Bolton Wanderers despite only scoring once in the Dougie Freedman era (Huddersfield Town) and twice since Owen Coyle's departure (Bristol City). There would have been one more goal to his name had the referee not whistled for a penalty against Peterborough but that's beside the point.
On top of the vital goals, Eagles has been important as an outlet and provider as well. When he is not on the field, the team has often failed to maintain possession and more often than not, give it right back. He has also combined for 12 assists, meaning he is directly responsible for 19 goals, more than half of the 36 that Bolton have scored thus far this season. If Chris Eagles can break through his scoring duck (no goals in the last three games and one in the last 13), he will once again be a force to be reckoned with in the Championship.