There are a total of five matches left in this season for Bolton Wanderers. Three of those will be on the road and the remaining two will be played at the Reebok Stadium. While the team's away record still leaves a lot to be desired (and will have to swiftly improve for a chance at the playoffs), the home form has fans breathing easy. For the first time in what seems like an eternity, Bolton Wanderers have turned the Reebok Stadium into a fortress.
Since the start of the new year, the Trotters have conceded a grand total of just three goals at the Reebok. That's three goals in eight matches. In the last five matches at home, Bolton have conceded none. A hardened defense, vastly improved fitness, and the backing of the fans is to thank for that. Wanderers aren't bludgeoning the opposition to death with goals. Instead, they're scoring just enough and keeping the visitors out altogether.
At the moment, Bolton sit in eighth place in the Championship on 60 points, just two shy of the playoff places. There have been 41 matches played this and Bolton have played 21 of those at the Reebok Stadium. Of the 21, there have been 13 wins, 3 losses, and five draws. That is 44 points at home and a win percentage of 61.9. That is a feat that Bolton have not matched in well over a decade.
Even when Bolton Wanderers were flying high in the top half of the Premier League table, consistently battling for UEFA Cup (at that point), that 61.9% win rate was unmatched. For the 2004/05, 2005/06, and 2006/07 seasons, Bolton Wanderers finished in 6th, 8th, and 7th places, respectively. The win percentages for those three seasons: 47.4%, 57.9%, and 47.4%. It was that 2005/06 season, finishing eighth under Sam Allardyce, where Bolton Wanderers came closest to besting the current win rate.
In the post-Sam Allardyce era, Bolton's best year at home (and by a large margin) was the 2010/11 season under Owen Coyle where the Trotters spent a large portion of it (prior to Stu Holden's injury) pushing for 6th place. That year, Bolton Wanderers won 10 of 19 at home to finish with a Reebok win rate of 52.6%.
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The home form leaves without anything to worry about on Bolton soil. It's the away form that begs for improvement. To date, Bolton have played 20 games away from home, winning three and losing ten (a tiny win rate of just 15%). The question is why? Are the players feeding off of the fan energy to that extent? Is there something in the way Dougie Freedman sets up the team? Is it nerves?
With the season coming to a head, the Trotters have two tasks: keep winning at home and for the love of all things good, win away.