Fans up and down the country are raring to go for the new season, but that doesn't seem to be the case with our lovely Wanderers following. It feels as though the club another 3 weeks of pre-season, both on the pitch and off it (the squad still looks wafer thin). With no right back signed (yet), a drought of wingers and at least one striker missing from the match-day squad, it appears as though Neil Lennon won't have a "healthy" squad of players to choose from until the first emergency loan window closes in November. By that point, Zach Clough and Josh Vela will have umpteen Premier League scouts watching them at the Macron. Mr Gartside, our ever frugal Chairman, will be seeing dollar signs.
And the season won't start much better either.
Derby have had a summer of change, losing Schteve McClaren to Newcastle, yet bringing in Real Madrid Assistant Paul Clement. Despite his lack of experience in the top job, he has an unenviable footballing education, similar to that of Jose Mourinho, who was understudy to Sir Bobby Robson at Barcelona. Derby are pretty good, Bolton are pretty bad. The first game of the season is always a tight one, but Derby will get the win thanks to their brilliant away support and goals from Darren Bent and Tom Ince, with a late consolation coming from a Dorian Dervite bullet header.
2) 15th August: Middlesbrough 2-0 Bolton Wanderers
Like Derby, Middlesbrough are pretty good, and have an admirable home record rolling over from last season. With Patrick Bamford now at Crystal Palace, they'll have to look elsewhere for goals. If the rumour mill is to be believed, Jordan Rhodes would be a very astute signing. Stewart Downing was the form player in the first half of last Premier League season, and could rip the division to shreds if he hits that sort of form again this time around. 2-0 home win, with goals for Kike and Albert Adomah, both assisted by Downing.
3) 18th August: MK Dons 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
On paper, this looks like our first winnable game, only it won't be. I have a funny feeling that the inevitable rise of MK Dons will continue this season. I don't envisage them playing Premier League football, but I certainly expect them to get their feet well and truly under the Championship dinner table for years to come. Crap as he is, I'm glad Rob Hall won't be eligible to play, as he'd no doubt have a stormer against us. Bore draw, Devante Cole and Mark Davies with the goals.
4) 22nd August: Bolton Wanderers 5-0 Nottingham Forest
By this point, Bolton will be 23rd in the division, with some fans already grumbling about relegation. Others will have accepted that Bolton Wanderers don't start seasons well. Nottingham Forest will have four points, losing away to Brighton live on Sky before beating Rotherham at home and drawing with Charlton. However, this is where it all changes. Bolton are going to maul Freedman's Forest by a thumping five goals to nil. Why? Because I said so. Clough to open his account for the season with a brace, Madine will also contribute with two goals, and captain fantastic Darren Pratley will wrap up proceedings with a 35 year screamer. And we'll all go home, order a Saturday night takeaway, crack open a beer, sit down on the sofa, and piss ourselves. Laughing, like, I'm not incontinent.
5) 29th August: Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
I consider this my derby day of the season - the last time we went to Ewood on Sky TV, we managed to come away with a win, ensuring we weren't bottom at Christmas. It made no difference, we went down anyway for those of you that have blocked it from memory. Blackburn appear on the decline, rumoured to be losing Jordan Rhodes after selling Rudy Gestede to Aston Villa, losing Josh King to Bournemouth and Tom Cairney to Fulham. The current transfer embargo could leave them with a big case of the relegation battle. This one, however, will end a draw, with Rhodes scoring his last goal for the Rovers before is deadline day move to Boro with seconds left after Zach Clough opens the scoring early doors.
6) 12th September - Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
I had us down to win this one, that was until Adam Le Fondre signed for Wolves this week. He'll get a good reception, clap the fans, score their equaliser in the dying minutes and refuse to celebrate. And we'll love him and hate him in equal measure for a time, before going back to loving him. Benik Afobe is also guaranteed to score Wolves' first equaliser. John McGinlay to sign on an emergency loan, score two goals in the first half before knocking Nouha Dicko's teeth out, getting away with just a yellow, and being substituted at half time by Lennon for Madine.
Six points in the first 6 games will mask over the cracks of our current predicament (the predicament being that our squad isn't very good). At best, it'll be another bottom half finish this year, at worst a trip to David Dunn's Oldham Athletic in 2016/17. Let's hope that I'm wrong, that Eddie Davies wipes the debt owed to him, Eidur comes back in November and we win the league. Yeah, me neither. Come on you Whites!