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5 Things: Bolton v Blackpool

After a very pleasing and quite enjoyable home cup win against near neighbours Blackpool we now look at 5 things we learnt from the game.

N'Gog the provider
N'Gog the provider
Clint Hughes

1) Medo is more effective than Spearing

Saturday’s cup tie provided Medo Kamara with a huge opportunity to stake his place for a starting berth.

Previously Kamara had seen his chances reduced as he and fellow midfielder Jay Spearing struggle to form an effective partnership.

One of the pair had to go and the latter was preferred meaning Medo's chances were often as a late substitute (as we certainly don't use early ones).

We have covered in some detail on this site the troubles Spearing has had of late and it was with intrigue I watched as Kamara was given his opportunity Medo was magnificent, both in defence and attack as he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

The Sierra Leone International midfielder was hard-working in defence and whilst dominating former Whites midfielder Chris Basham he often ensured Bolton right back Alex Baptiste was not exposed to the pace of Thomas Ince.

Kamara, as opposed to Spearing, predominantly chose to stay on his feet when tackling which allowed him to gain possession.

Medo was also frequently available to receive the ball which is a major failing of Spearing's game and the attacking players of the Wanderers players thrived on this with Moritz and Eagles in particular frequently dropping deep to collect the ball from Medo and looking to break quickly. It will be interesting to see if Freedman sticks with Medo Kamara or indeed favours Jay Spearing, I certainly know which one I would go for.

2) David N'Gog: New Hair New Man

We simply are a better team with David N'Gog in the side and there are many reasons for this.

My fellow Lion of Vienna Suite blogger Chris recently discussed that we are yet to move on from Kevin Davies despite releasing the Wanderers legend some months ago.

Despite attempts to convince us otherwise, there is still a major direct element to the Wanderers style of play and none of our strikers have been able to cope.

This is why Jermaine Beckford looks so disjointed and why Mason did not even look like a striker, it is the directness of the Wanderers game.

David N'Gog has been slowly moulded to cope with this game plan during his time at Bolton and now looks as though he cannot cope with it, but thrive on it.

N'Gog, arguably has the best first touch in the Wanderers side, this coupled with his height and players around him willing to receive the ball, for example, Andre Moritz, Chris Eagles and Mark Davies, and Bolton may have a readymade game plan at their disposal.

N'Gog's match winning performance included a superb solo run with a strike to match and a well battled assist for his strike partner Jermaine Beckford.

Many critics of N'Gog will argue he does not score enough goals but there is much more to a strikers game than that. I believe we are more likely to win a game with him in a side.

3) The Match Day Experience

The ticket prices for this game were exceptional, especially when considered the team we were facing were in the same division as ourselves and both fielded strong teams and wanted to win the fixture.

However, as a season ticket holder, there is still a lot issues regarding the match day experience.

One area in which this is particulary evident is the Reebok Stadium Announcer who cannot be heard or understood all around the ground.

I assumed this would be teething problems with a change of announcer and would be rectified in due course, but it hasn't.

It seems a really small issue to be complaining at but this can isolate less knowledgeable fans. I took my girlfriend to a game for the first time to this fixture and she asked me about all the substitutions and announcements made, it needs to be addressed.

4) We need a left-back urgently

This may not necessarily be a recent discovery but the urgency to sign a left back not only as cover but of quality enough to be first team player is high, this issue was shown again on Saturday.

Tim Ream has had a fantastic season since being reintroduced to the squad at the beginning of the season firstly in defensive midfield and the central defence, where he formed an effective partnership with Matt Mills.

As his loan period ended and Kevin McNaughton returned to Cardiff City, Ream has found himself shifted over to left-back and until Saturday had coped quite well there.

The USA defender's problems began half way through the second half as Blackpool switched winger Thomas Ince over to their right hand side to try and get their most influential player more into the game.

Ream struggled with Ince’s pace and close control and this gave Blackpool a real source of chances as Ince was able to test the Whites with numerous crosses and create a real period of sustained pressure for the home side. It is a position we have struggled to cover since the injury of Marc Tierney and Alex Baptiste really struggled when he was positioned on his unfavoured left side.

The window is open and this position must be the Wanderers priority in this transfer window.

5) Neil Danns / Darren Pratley

Bolton Wanderers have an abundance of midfielders and many who share similar skill sets. Some examples are Spearing/Medo, Eagles/Chung Yong Lee and Moritz/M Davies.

In the game against Blackpool it was Neil Danns who got the nod to start as he returned for his second loan spell at the club, to the delight of many around the Reebok Stadium. When watching Neil Danns, it is easy to see what you are going to get from the midfielder.

Danns is the box-to-box type who will be heavily involved in both attack and defence, the sort of player you rely on when under pressure and thrives in the closer, more intense games.

Darren Pratley is of a similar mould and Freedman will have to look at the pair and decide which he would favour. In terms of effort, there is nothing wrong at all with Darren Pratley, the former Swansea midfielder is guaranteed to give 100% every time he plays and is always likely to chip in with goals.

However, in my opinion the enhanced technical ability offered by selecting Danns offers far more to the Wanderers cause especially when surrounded by other technical players, such as Eagles, Moritz or Davies.

One thing is certain, Wanderers have too many midfielders and I would expect some to be moving on in this window.