Bolton Wanderers are coming up on a third season in the Championship, Dougie Freedman is coming up on two years in charge, and more importantly four transfer windows in charge. And you have to say at this point that it is Dougie's squad. He has got rid of everyone he doesn't want. He has brought in a lot of new faces. He's got his training staff, his back room staff, his tactics, and his players. What does that mean for 2014-2015 at The Macron Stadium?
I think Bolton will finish in the top 10. I think they will be fighting for a playoff spot to the very end of the season. That said, in the Championship the difference between sixth place and ninth place is a few points. A few points throughout the season can come down to one poorly timed goal. And Bolton Wanderers concede a lot of poorly timed goals. Two years ago I wrote an article titled Bolton Wanderers Defending is Crap. Owen Coyle was not able to fix it, and that is why he was fired. Dougie Freedman has stopped the rot, and we have seen improvement, but I still wouldn't say that the defending is good. It's erratic. It's inconsistent. It's not a defense capable of winning promotion. Or is it?
I'm going to predict that Wanderers finish 5th and make the playoffs.
Dean Moxey. There is no doubt about it for me. I am looking at who he is replacing. Last season, after Marcos Alonso left and Marc Tierney, we had no recognized left back. Tim Ream played there. Alex Baptiste played there. And that weakened us at two positions. Neither was very good at left back, and their replacements were worse at centre half and right back. Just the security of having a dependable left back will make us several goals better.
Starting Line-up v. Watford FC:
Kevin McNaughton Tim Ream Matt Mills Dean Moxey
Jay Spearing Medo Kamara
Liam Feeney Darren Pratley Neil Danns
Will Dougie last?
I think he will. I think that barring an unmitigated disaster, something along the lines of being in the relegation zone at Christmas, Freedman will get the entire season. Now, if there is not substantial improvement from last year, and at least a fight for a playoff spot, next summer will be very interesting.
That's it. The time for theories is over. It's time to play football. COYWM!