It all comes down to this. The 38th and final match of the season. Beat our opponents, then look to the scoreboard. It's a forgotten experience for many Wanderers supporters. The last time we went into the final weekend with our Premier League status in doubt was 2003. We've been through a lot since then. And yet, nothing has changed.
Stoke City have 44 points from 37 matches. In some years,they might still be mathematically threatened by relegation. But not this season. They sit in fourteenth place, unlikely to move up and unable to move down. It is the definition of the phrase "nothing to play for." In fact several pundits have used the expression "They're already on the beach" when discussing Stoke City and Bolton's chances of staying up. One win in their last eleven matches may confirm this opinion. Bolton teams of the past would have smelled blood and crushed the Potters. The current iteration of the Mighty Wanderers has not shown such a killer instinct. Keep reading to find out what the team will look like tomorrow, and what chance they have.
The themes of this Wanderers season have been injuries and missed opportunities. At this point there is nothing we can do about the fitness questions. We have the players we have. And we have one last opportunity. I don't want to tempt the fates here, but realistically, if we win we will stay up. We need Queens Park Rangers to lose, yes, but they are playing a fantastic Manchester City team who are within inches of their first title in decades. If QPR get anything from that match then, in all honesty, they deserve to stay up.
There have been a few bright spots to this Bolton season, as well as some good signs for the future, and these will be on display tomorrow.
Wanderers have found their goalkeeper of the future. Despite a few rough patches, Adam Bogdan has won the first team shirt, and the young Hungarian appears poised to remain between the posts at the Reebok for years to come. I think we are in good hands in this regard. Given our defensive frailties in front of him, he needs to have an absolutely blinder tomorrow if we are to keep a clean sheet. I believe he has it in him.
Tim Ream looks to have been a bargain. He still makes some positional mistakes, but he is young yet, with almost zero experience of playing top flight football. The American should be anchoring our defense well into the future.
Mark Davies has really taken a step forward this season. The one positive from Stuart Holden's injury has been that Sparky was able to make the midfield his own. The absence of Fabrice Muamba has prevented the rampaging runs forward we saw early in the season, but he needs to play well at the Brittania if we are to have any chance against Stoke.
I wish I could keep going, but that is really it for the positives. This Sunday s going to be terrifying. I hope we can pull it off, but my faith is wavering. #COYWM!