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Five Things: Bolton Wanderers v. Yeovil Town

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Chris takes a look back at another happy and jolly encounter at the Reebok Stadium

Chris Brunskill

1) The Goalkeeper

I don't ‘mind' Adam Bogdan. I don't think Andy Lonergan is particularly ‘better' than Bogdan. I am not usually one for chopping and changing the goalkeeper, despite my belief that there is barely a fag paper between them. However, following on from Saturday's game at home to Yeovil Town then I believe that it is time for a change in between the sticks.

Now, in Bogdan's defence, I think he had a reasonable game on Saturday. He (largely) did what he needed to do. He made a couple of decent saves and was consistent in his clearances and use of the ball both with his feet and with his hands.

But then he made THAT mistake.

He has struggled, throughout his time as first choice, to get the Wanderers' crowd on his side. I think that whilst we may not be the most patient of supporters, and whilst I do not doubt that the lad has done his utmost whilst in the side, his inclusion at the expense of Jussi Jaaskelainen and to an extent Ali Al-Habsi was a mistake.

Therefore, I think that the reaction to his mistake against Yeovil Town from the crowd warrants a change. Normally I wouldn't be in favour of promoting anything that Wanderers fans come up with, but with regard to the keeper then his confidence is crucial to the success of the team.

With the sarcastic cheering that greeted every catch and clearance afterwards, it was clear that what brittle faith the majority had in the player has now gone. Lonergan should come in and take Bogdan out of the firing line.

2) Marc Tierney

Tierney is a funny player. I really like his commitment to blood and thunder tackles, and I think he's a better Championship level full back than Marcos Alonso, despite being a vastly inferior footballer.

He gets the crowd on his side with his no-nonsense approach and has proven thus far to be a good signing by Dougie Freedman.

However this blood and thunder approach is risky. In this modern era of soft-arsed footballers who love nothing more than getting an opponent sent off there have been one or two occasions when he has walked a fine line between aggression and outright violence.

Saturday's game against Yeovil Town saw both sides of Tierney's character come to the fore. His lapse against Derby County was addressed in a performance of positional excellence, giving his opponent barely a sniff all game. However, his enthusiasm for a crunching tackle prompted him to fly across the pitch to challenge Shane Duffy in a somewhat pointless attempt to win the ball on the half-way line.

We have subsequently learned that Tierney has fractured his left foot - from my vantage point in the East Stand Lower it was tough to ascertain whether our man or Duffy was to blame for overexuberance, but I could certainly see that it was not the place for a do-or-die tackle such as the one that he attempted.

Tierney's willingness to get stuck in is a great asset of his, but our paucity of choice in the left-back spot made it a reckless and ultimately pointless gesture. We will have to reshuffle the back four ahead of the Blackpool game on Tuesday, with the most likely result being that Alex Baptiste will need to move to left-back, and Cardiff City loanee Kevin McNaughton hopefully having international clearance granted to make his debut at right back.

Youth team left-back Andy Kellett is another option, and he has been on the bench once or twice too, but away to one of the leading sides in the league could well be a baptism of fire for the Academy graduate.

3) Medo Kamara

I like Medo and Spearing a lot. A lot. However, let's face facts, so far this season they have been absolute rubbish.

That said, I thought that Saturday saw a welcome return to the Medo of old. He was bombing around the pitch winning tackles, and was by a mile our most efficient and accurate passer of the ball.

It is a sad state of affairs when your holding midfielder is your most attacking outlet, too. He is usually good for a long-range blaster or two as the game progresses, and he again hit the woodwork on Saturday - once with a 25 yard daisy-cutter and once with a late, flicked header.

He covered well for Spearing who was again a somewhat peripheral presence in the game, and provided much-needed energy in all areas of the pitch.

Granted, the opposition were perhaps the worst team I have ever seen in a game of professional football, but Medo looked much more like the man that we welcomed into the team last season, and I hope that he continues this form against Blackpool on Tuesday evening.

4) Feeney vs Chung-Yong Lee

I confess that when the club reported that we had signed a lad called Feeney on loan, I presumed it was Warren, the journeyman striker of about 4,000 professional clubs. However, upon consulting the true Oracle (Wikipedia, not Nixon), I was clued-in to the new man.

I was a bit surprised when he was brought on at the weekend, I thought that in the warm-up he looked like he was carrying a bit of timber. Knowing Dougie Freedman's love of physical training and fitness I presumed he was just there for an emergency.

However, the shambolic performance of Chung-Yong Lee at the weekend no doubt prompted Dougie to bring on the new man, possibly ahead of schedule.


He was rewarded by an encouraging 35 minute performance from Liam Feeney, who showed more in that 35 minutes than his Korean colleague has in a year. Feeney consistently beat his man and slung in some excellent crosses from the right flank, bringing back echoes of David Lee in his pomp.

The crosses were crying out for a striker to get on the end of them - some sat around me were decrying the absence of someone like Kevin Davies with his aerial prowess - and indeed he should have had an assist for the winner in the dying moments when Zat Knight guffed up a straightforward header.

I would doubt whether Feeney is fit enough to start from the off against Blackpool on Tuesday night, but his second-half appearance on Saturday was encouraging enough to assure the Wanderers fans that whilst they might not have heard of Feeney beforehand, that maybe when it comes to signing somewhat ‘obscure' players on loan then perhaps we should trust Dougie's research and scouting network.

5) The Bloody Strikers

Jesus bloody Christ. Another shambolic showing from what constitutes, in my opinion, the worst set of strikers that we have had since I started watching Bolton Wanderers.

David Ngog was given the nod by his manager to start alone up front. He gave his usual performance, mixing in a reasonable work ethic and some sublime touches with being as much of a goal threat as a packet of crisps. 
I find it hard to criticise Ngog unduly.

He's a pleasant guy in the flesh and has the look of someone that takes every ounce of criticism to heart, but there comes a time when enough is enough.

The money that we spent on him, and the money that he earns has, let's face it, been a complete waste. As much as I thought Johan Elmander was a pile of tripe, he was/is ten times the striker that Ngog is.

The Frenchman's contract expires at the end of this season, and even if we somehow managed to gain promotion I cannot envisage any sort of situation where he remains a Bolton Wanderers player at the start of next season.
Finance is reason enough to get rid, form has been reason enough for 18 months.

Now, Jermaine Beckford. I was a supporter of his signing in the summer - the sort of ruthless bastard that we'd needed for some time. I liked Ivan Klasnic for example, but he was a lazy shit. The reports coming out of Leeds and Leicester regarding Beckford were very similar, but those at Huddersfield had told of a fresh and hungry striker who wanted to impress.

Wanderers were/are his last shot at the top flight, given his age, but again, he hasn't shown enough.

I like the idea of having players at the club who perhaps consider Wanderers as a big stage for their talents. It makes me think that they will play their hearts out in order to be seen as being good enough for one of the bigger clubs in the league. Beckford however looks lost. We do not know how to play to his strengths, and he does not possess the attributes to play to ours.

A perfect example of this came in the minutes after his introduction, replacing Ngog. He took up a position on the far edge of the box, as Matt Mills strode out of defence carrying the ball. Mills, as is his wont, decided that the best course of action was to lump a massive cross-field ball in Beckford's direction - regular viewers won't be surprised to learn that it went sailing over his head. Mills then let fly with a stream of invective towards Beckford, presumably chastising him for having the cheek not to be eight feet tall and able to control Mills' hoofed pass.

It is this sort of confusion in terms of role that is causing us grief. In Ngog we have a striker who doesn't know how to play as a striker, and in Beckford we have a striker who does not know how to play in a team who are so used to going without one.

That said, Beckford's inability to put away the one-on-one chance that should be his forte is getting more and more frustrating, not to mention costly.

I can think of QPR and now Yeovil Town to add to the list. If he's to stay in the team then he needs to start putting them away, because no other bastard is going to.