In my hopeful mind, we were going to survive relegation against Stoke. Then we were going to win every game in the 12/13 season and win the league. Then I absolutely knew we would reach the playoffs last season. It seems that I think slightly more of our underperforming team than some people, but a little faith can go a long way.
Bolton Wanderers are about to embark upon their 3rd consecutive year in the Championship, and unlike their first two, fans are less optimistic about their chances of promotion. The words I keep reading everywhere say: 'Mid Table Mediocrity.' With a younger revamped squad and a new stadium name, many are hoping it's third time lucky for the men in white in their charge for promotion.
Let's have a look in a little more detail...
| Key Signing
We haven't signed them yet. We've made several good signings over the summer, but not the key one.
It's something everybody else has said. We need a striker, and another, and another.
It was a massive blow to lose out on Juke but we have to move on, and fast. Dougie Freedman said he wanted to do his business early on. For the most part he did, but with the season opener at Watford FC looming in the distance, it looks like we will have to wait a little bit longer before we bring anybody in.
The unfortunate reality is that a quality striker can be the difference between 'mid table mediocrity' and a playoff place.
It's long been a bogey position for us, not having had a 15-goal-a-season striker since the days of Nicolas Anelka. So let's hope we get one this time round.
| Ideal Signing
Can I say Ronaldo?
Unfortunatley we can't quite meet his demands. So I would have to go for Chris Wood.
With experience at Championship level and his time at Premier League new boys Leicester City possibly coming to an end, it would be a worthwhile addition to our front line. Not forgetting that he can score goals, which is still a key for a striker to possess you would hope.
That seems like our most realistic prospect and I hope we can add him to our ranks.
| Line up for the first game
I've given this a lot of thought over the past couple of weeks. For me, our midfield is the toughtest to pick. I preferred the style played by Coyle, using the wings rather than playing through the middle. This is how I think we will set out.
However, I think this would be a more interesting line up:
Although if there isn't a big offer, I see no reason why they can't play another season. I know it's a case of trying to cash in before contracts run out, but they could have brilliant seasons and be at the forefront of our promotion challenge. I don't really see many players in the Championship matching either of them unless they both play terribly.
I don't see any reason why we can't do some damage to teams at this level.
We saw glimpses of it last season, whether we had Juke or not. We do have the ability to get promoted.
I do believe the new boys relegated from the Premier Leauge are in for a tough year with the exception of Cardiff City. I think Fulham will struggle to adapt and Norwich City will just struggle in general with a severely average squad.
Cardiff however with some decent signings will be pushing for an instant return.
We are good enough to reach the playoffs and if we kick the season off in the right it will put us in a great position to achieve it.
Let's get behind our team!
You know what they say... things can only get better.