1) Lennon knows his players now
The ginger one really knows the strengths and weaknesses of our players and has been able to knit them together to form a coherent, hard working unit which know their individual and collective roles better than they ever did under Dougie. I wrote an article about our lack of any identity earlier this season and Lennon has quickly given us one back again.
The old feeling of camaraderie and togetherness at the club is back. We lost it after Big Sam departed, regained it briefly under Coyle when Stuart Holden was such a positive influence on and off the field but it has been sorely missing until Lennon's presence and of course his instant impact on results have sped up the process of giving us our belief back.
The signings of Eidur & Emile got everyone talking about us again in a way that hasn't happened since we were relegated. Just to get our name back in the psyche of the nation has a subtle but positive influence on our mentality. Instead of signing no marks like Garvan and Moxey we now are linked with United and Celtic players such as Powell and Commons. The mentality has switched around completely. We are Bolton, we are proud and we will beat you!!
2) How good is Dorian Dervite?
One thing for which we need to give Dougie some credit is the number of his summer signings that have started to really come good now. While Feeney and Trotter played very well on the day, our French centre half continues to impress with his composure, bravery and positioning. A different partner at the back in the form of Big Dave who slotted in perfectly but another clean sheet and Dervite is starting to become an indispensable member of our team now. He needs to make more of a noise in the opposition's box at set pieces, which I'm sure will come but he has been consistently excellent for 8 weeks now and long may it continue. Still reminds me of Birds of a Feather when I see his name though...
3) Bogdan or Lonergan?
Both out of contract in June and both are in essence very similar in ability overall, although due to the obvious factor of age, Bogdan may be the more likely to improve further. On the flip side this also makes him the more sellable asset in the short term if we need to raise funds for other more pressing areas of the team. I can't help thinking Lennon has possibly played him in this game not only to give Lonners a well deserved rest (goalkeepers need resting too - mentally more than physically!) but to put Boggers - yes, we're on nickname terms with these two - in the shop window for a foreign club perhaps.
His close range save from Forshaw's header certainly thrust him to the front up with the mannequins so job done in that aspect.
It is a tough call on what to do with these two but I trust Lennon to make the right call for the club as the last thing we want is for both to leave in the summer on a free and we have to bed in another goalkeeper next season. Continuity within the back five is imperative I believe and we are starting to see the fruits of a settled backline in our goals against column.
4) Is Spearing on his way?
The notion that Jay was rested 3 or 4 games into Lennon's reign when we lost at Carrow Road now seems like a particularly large red herring.
He clearly doesn't fancy him as a player and I did allude to the fact in my identity article I referred to before that I felt he was more of a problem to our team's play then a positive impact with his workrate and terrier like tackling. It is a huge shame in a way as I like the guy, he clearly enjoys playing for the club and has got some good attributes but the lack of presence he exudes is a major issue in the centre of the park for me. His stature cannot be helped unless someone quickly invents an efficient stretching machine.
The fact he didn't play a minute of this game when Danns was out on his feet for the last 10/15 minutes says to me Lennon didn't want him cup tied and thinks he can possibly raise £500,000-£750,000 by offloading him and that his no-doubt hefty wages can be put to better use elsewhere. Unfortunately, I agree.
5) Zach Clough
I left the best till last.
What. A. Debut!!!
He glided around the pitch like Chungy had never boarded the plane. He slotted a through ball to Liam Feeney in the 1st half that showed the vision of a seasoned playmaker and the technique of the man who replaced him when he departed to a standing ovation rarely seen on a first team debut. Plus he can shoot with power...and finish. And what a finish!
A lovely dink when running through at full pelt is a very difficult manoeuvre to execute and he did so perfectly.
His balance and driving, scampering runs at the heart of the Wigan defence particularly at the start of the second half when he had three separate shots were reminiscent of Mark Davies.
He ran with a purpose and intensity that excited me and my friend Sam who I sit with more than any debut we can remember. Local commentator John Gwynne apparently called it the most exciting debut he'd seen in thirty years which is a huge compliment bearing in mind his age and the amount of games he has seen over the years.
What a fillip it must be to the other players in the academy like Jamie Thomas, Oscar Threlkeld and Georg Iliev that Josh Vela, Conor Wilkinson and now Clough are being given chances and not just token appearances at the end of the season like in Andy Kellett's case. If you do well you stay in the team which is exactly how it should be.
What a time to be a Wanderer! The pride is back and so is the excitement!
Onwards and upwards!