Bolton Wanderers slumped to a disapointing 1-0 defeat against Burton Albion on Tuesday night, meaning they fall out of the Capital One Cup at the very first hurdle.
Here are five things we learned:
1) We Need Another Striker
We had all been buoyed by the performances of Gary Madine during pre-season to the point where another striker seemed a luxury - it isn't. Madine is going to be a great target man for us, but history suggests we will probably see 10 or so goals from him a season. Zach Clough will no doubt be a threat but we shouldn't be putting all our eggs in one basket. Pace is a big problem for us in that we have sod all. What we need is a good pacey striker to take advantage of Madine's knock downs and the high line they'd be likely to use against him. See Chris' ‘So We Need a Striker: The Choices' for options.
2) Madine Needs A Goal
An aspect in a player's performance often overlooked by those who've never played professional sport is confidence. Lack of it is often interpreted as being uninterested and can make any player a hindrance. You only have to see the difference confidence has made on Darren Pratley, or Jermaine Beckford after he left us. Madine has now hit the crossbar 4 times in 2 matches with yesterday's miss hitting it twice with one shot. It's far too soon to say he's in a rut of any kind but this kind of luck is doing its upmost to get him in one.
3) Booing? Really?
We are two games in, played well in both, and battered a team for 89 minutes of 90 and got caught with one of their three shots on target. Yes you pay your ticket money and are entitled to voice your displeasure, just as I'm allowed to call you an idiot for doing so. I apologies for being angry at anyone just saying boo-urns.
4) Set Pieces
Can we please invest in a competent specialist? I can barely remember the last time we scored from a corner. Part of the blame lies with the takers. Spearing has most frequently been used in the past couple of years and is just bad at it. Feeney and Moxey also filled in last night and results were pretty much the same. Eleven corners and nothing to show for them. Gone are the days of it being one of our main source of goals. The other blame seems to be lack of any routine, with a jostle and hope system employed.
5) Rob Holding
Another player brought through by Neil Lennon. The youngster seems to have leapfrogged Taylor in the pecking order, so credit to the lad for having worked hard in pre-season. He had a competent debut with some nice touches and passes. In truth, it was a great game for a defender to be blooded in due to how little they threatened but he did what he had to. We now have a wealth of decent young centre backs in Holding, Taylor and Finney adding to the senior ranks. Depending on whether Ream is London bound and Wheater's legs working we could see them often this year and I can't say I have any qualms about that.