With the Trotters' 2012/13 campaign already wrapped up, the supporters and players alike are looking forward to next season. The consensus seems to be a generally positive attitude towards a better 2013 and with it, a return to the top flight. Zat Knight, however, has issued a warning as he realizes the scale of the challenge that is ahead for Bolton Wanderers.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Knight, the current captain, explained:
"I said to the boys during the week I think next year is going to be the hardest Championship.
"It is going to be a mini-Premier League with the teams coming down and maybe one or two big clubs that could be coming up as well.
"It is hard to take. I have one year left on my contract and it would have been nice to see that out in the Premier League. But it is not meant to be. However, I am relishing next season already and, hopefully, we can have a good pre-season and go again.
"Maybe if the manager had been here a bit before maybe we would have been promoted or in the play-offs."
Queens Park Rangers and Reading have already been relegated from the Premier League and with two games left in the season, the one other team that will go down is yet to be decided. Wigan is currently occupying that space but they have a game in hand on Newcastle and Norwich City, both of which are just three points clear of the drop. Sunderland sit only two points above the Latics but they, like Wigan, have three games to go.
Doncaster and Bournemouth are the two teams confirmed to be coming up from League One with Sheffield United, Yeovil Town, Swindon Town, and Brentford all vying for that final spot. Bournemouth's manager, Eddie Howe, had beaten Bolton Wanderers this season while managing Burnley.
Knight would also make his feelings known in a sideline interview directly following the Blackpool match, discussing how difficult it was to take the result and missing out on the play-offs:
Zat would go on to discuss the upcoming changes in the squad necessitated by the departures of Kevin Davies and Jay Spearing, among (potentially) others:
"He is one you can rely on and Kev [Davies] is going to be a massive loss as a team-mate and as an individual. He is a big character and whoever he goes to will have a massive gain."
"There are definitely going to be changes. Hopefully the manager can bring in the right players to add to what he has got."