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Pre-Season Results: Important or Irrelevant?

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Wanderers' woeful streak of pre-season results continued against lowly Morecambe last night - but do these matches really matter or are these results irrelevant as players gain match fitness?

Neil Lennon's side continued a poor streak of pre-season results at Morecambe yesterday
Neil Lennon's side continued a poor streak of pre-season results at Morecambe yesterday
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In the wake of Bolton Wanderers' 2-1 pre-season defeat to League Two side Morecambe last night, Twitter was alive with Whites fans slating the side and those saying results in these matches are irrelevant.

Wanderers' pre-season form has been northing short of woeful for the last three years. In addition to last night's defeat to Morecambe and the two defeats in Austria last week, in the previous three pre-seasons Bolton sides made up of first team players have only won five of 20 matches - against Danish side Vestsjaelaand, Rochdale, Tranmere, Port Vale and Morecambe (in 2012).

Those pre-seasons saw a defeat to then La Liga side Real Betis, as well as losses against the might of Carlisle United, Rotherham United, Portsmouth, Hamilton Academical, Vitesse Arnhem and Mjallby, as well as draws against Shrewsbury Town, Macclesfield Town, Falkirk, Crewe Alexandra, Ayr United, Brondby, Barcelona B and Tranmere Rovers.

Wanderers' dire pre-seasons in the previous two seasons culminated in dreadful starts to the Championship that saw then managers Owen Coyle and Dougie Freedman eventually getting sacked. The one prior to that saw us have a terrible season that led to relegation from the Premier League. With that in mind, is it really feasible to say that results in pre-season are irrelevant?

If pre-season was a waste of time and had no bearing on building up a head of steam ahead of the matches that matter then nobody would do it. Yes Lennon will say it's the match fitness and game time that matters, but that's what previous managers said in the last three seasons. Also, Wanderers rarely face a pre-season with matches against much better sides, rather favouring lower league sides they'd expect to beat to - in theory - build momentum and confidence.

You would imagine that managers ideally use pre-season friendlies to get their side playing the way they want them to, and see players playing in positions they want them to be in once the season kicks off. If that is true, then Wanderers' performances and starting lineups in pre-season don't leave us a whole lot to be optimistic about come the start of the new season.

Defeats to the likes of Morecambe, Portsmouth and Hamilton are hardly likely to inspire confidence among the squad - as can be seen in the two terrible starts we've made to life back in the Championship.

What do you think? Do we get too carried away with the results of pre-season friendlies, should we expect more of the team, or are the results irrelevant? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.