Hitting the panic button really isn't my style, but having been saying for what seems like an eternity now that Coyle needs to improve soon, things are starting to get a little dodgy. Bolton Wanderers have received 4 points from their opening 3 games, 1 win, 1 draw, and 1 loss (not including the embarrassing Crawley Town incident). It's not a terrible run, but nor is it what Bolton fans have come to expect from the club. This weekend is yet another chance for Coyle to turn everything around.
Owen Coyle must be feeling the pressure now. The honeymoon with the fans is definitely over, and boos are once again not uncommon around the Reebok. However, he has doggedly stuck with his beloved 4-4-2 through all of this. It is possible that the acquisition of Liverpool's Jay Spearing on a season long loan could inspire the change fans have been looking for.
A central midfield of Jay Spearing to Mark Davies to Keith Andrews would be a very defensive showing, but that might just be what the club needs. There is enough attacking talent on the wings, in the form of Chris Eagles, Martin Petrov, and Chung-Yong Lee, that the central midfield could concentrate on keeping possession, something it will certainly take at least 3 Wanderers to do.
Luckily for Bolton, Hull are in somewhat of a transition period themselves. New manager Steve Bruce will be attempting to mold the side to his game, and that is always a difficult thing for players to adapt to. We've been told that the City player to watch is Sone Aluko, signed from Rangers this summer. The tricky winger could more than trouble Bolton's shaky defense, especially if allowed the space and time on the ball Bolton have usually this season.
Hull City have only scored one league goal this season, but they've also only let one in. The match plan will be to keep things tight, and to physically test Bolton, a club that is used to being considered big boys in the softer Premiership. Coyle is well aware how difficult this match could be,
"Steve has come in and added a few to a squad that already had some very good players in it. It's a fantastic infrastructure there. It's a great club with a great stadium. It's important we impose ourselves and show our quality and make sure we give Hull City some problems.
"There is a very simple reason why it's tough there and that's the fact they have a fantastic fan base. You saw that when they had a great few seasons in the Premier League. Even when Hull City were in the lower echelons of the league, they were still one of the best supported sides in those divisions.
"We are under no illusions what the atmosphere will be like, and that's something we have to deal with, and stand up and be counted."
Standing up and being counted has not been amongst Bolton's strong points this season. Coyle is right in that sooner or later this team will have to show some back bone if they expect to do well in the league, let alone push for promotion. The raw materials for a good team are there, now it's up to the boss to manipulate them into one.