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Five Things: Bolton Wanderers v Middlesbrough

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Oh what a night!

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1) Jay Spearing

Jay Spearing had a lot of making up to do after effectively costing Bolton Wanderers three points vs Nottingham Forest at weekend. Spearing knew the cost of his reckless tackle as he paraded the pitch after Saturday’s game with his hand up in apology.

You could see the enthusiasm in the early proceedings as the little scouser rampaged around the middle of the park looking to make amends. It filled me with hope that the weekends error had really hit home and after a couple of nights of soul-searching we may see the old Spearing back.

What we saw was a truly awful performance, one of the worst I have seen from a Bolton player in some time.

Spearing’s movement was terrible and this was particularly highlighted next to the cumbersome Liam Trotter, his tackling was off the mark and his passing was just embarrassing.

Spearing has recently been made club captain at Bolton Wanderers and I do not doubt that he is one of the leaders of the dressing room but for me he really needs to get back to basics and a bit of time out the team might do him a bit of good.

It may also do his arms some good, so he can stop pointing at people for a bit.

Spearing told Official BWFC:

"We have got to pick ourselves up – we’re three games in, but we’ve got to get our heads up, keep going and keep fighting."

I think you’ve done enough ‘fighting’ Jay, time for a quiet 10 minutes instead.

2) Go Long

Recently our fearless leader Dougie Freedman announced that he was pleased the fans could see what he was trying to do. Many, including writers on your favourite Bolton Wanderers site, scoffed at this claim and felt they had no idea what Bolton were looking to do.

Yesterday the strategy was very clear, hit it long.

Under Sam Allardyce, Bolton were mocked and chastised for their preference to play the game in a more direct style. Under Allardyce, or any Bolton manager since, I cannot remember a game we put so much emphasis on hitting a target man.

Don’t get me wrong, the direct game is my preferred style and if I was in charge it is exactly what we would be doing, it is the culture of our club and what many of us enjoy watching but come on Dougie, where has this come from?

We are literally playing a different strategy every game and I am not stupid enough to be fooled we are going somewhere.

It does not surprise me that Freedman had to spend 5 minutes explaining to Neil Danns what he wanted him to do because I doubt any of them have any sort of fucking clue.

3) It Gets Better

Those who are lucky enough to know me personally will now I am a calm man, a reserved character who likes to take the time to think about his actions or words before acting.

Last night saw a rare Liam O’Meara outburst at the sheer lunacy of a Dougie Freedman substitution.

Let’s set the scene then:

Bolton are looking for a way back in to the game after conceding a goal late on and understandably are looking to introduce their ‘goal machine’ Jermaine Beckford.

Freedman, clearly wanting to give his former Leeds United team-mate Beckford the room to operate, sacrifices Craig Davies.

Davies had what I thought was his best game for Bolton Wanderers. The big man was strong, powerful, winning everything in the area and was very dangerous on the turn.

After taking off Davies, Freedman instructs David Wheater to play makeshift target man.

Why?

Why take off a target man playing well and replace him with a centre-back to play targetman? Even if (and he wasn’t) Davies was exhausted, he would still be a better target man than David Wheater

Absolute lunacy.

I invite anyone, anyone at all, to explain why this was a good idea

That includes you, Freedman.

This was nearly as bad as Johan Elmander in centre midfield.

4) The Maturing of Adam Bogdan

The only positive of the entirety of 2014 is the coming of age of our goalkeeper Adam Bogdan. We now have a very good goalkeeper who is accomplished in all aspects of goalkeeping.

Bogdan has reacted so well to the questions over his position and the healthy competition with Andy Lonergan. The Hungarian stopper always had talent, with that there was no doubt but there were certain aspects of his game that let him down, in particular his handling.

These issues look like they have been ironed out now and for this season at least we can be assured that however poor our defence may be, we have in my opinion the best goalkeeper in the league behind them.

5) The Macron Mood

Quite frankly, the atmosphere and mood in the stadium is dire. The people are bored and the only time they look up from their iPhones (or other phones which are just as good) is to see the ridiculous games at half time.

Freedman has lost the faith of the fans, even those who have not turned on him know that he has failed and is past the point of saving the situation. Am I the only one who feels that the majority of fans in the stadium on Tuesday night were there not because they wanted to but because they felt they had to?

Where has the enjoyment gone?

It is not only attendances that are dwindling, it is interest in general. The club needs a shot in the arm and I’m sure you can guess what I think it would be.

Of course, you’re right, it is another half time game…