Yes everyone, I am still alive. With Freshers week now just a fleeting alcohol blurred haze and the daily routine of being in uni for short hand lectures at 8AM every morning now well and truly underway, it's time I got my act together and wrote some words on that Bolton Wanderers.
Now, obviously with being away watching the Whites as they play has become impossible (celebrating a Gary Madine goal in a Sheffield pub was quite something though), however, thanks to Wanderers Player I've been able to watch Bolton's impressive fight back to draw 2-2 with Brighton & Hove Albion in its entirety.
Whilst there were actually several very good performances all across the park, one player in particular really stood out, and his return couldn't have come at a better time.
I am of course referencing Max Clayton.
The 21-year old had been out of action since December after suffering an awful cruciate ligament injury. He made his return to the field last week when he turned out for the U21s, somewhat completely out of the blue. He scored after only two minutes. A couple of behind closed doors games later and Clayton was starting his first game for the first team in nine months.
He was fantastic.
Had you not known beforehand, you'd be hard pressed to tell that Clayton had just come back from a lengthy spell on the sidelines. He was creative, explosive on the ball, energetic and never stopped running. He looks fitter too, bigger, stronger. It's easy to see that he's worked extremely hard during his injury lay off not only to get back to full fitness, but to go beyond what he already was and really improve.
It was a real risk from Neil Lennon by throwing Clayton in from the off, but it proved to be the correct decision as a lot of Bolton's good attacking play came through the former Crewe Alexandra man.
His return from injury couldn't have come at a better time for Bolton. With Zach Clough suffering another dislocated shoulder and set to miss months of the season, Bolton looked perilously light in the middle of attack, there was no pace, no one who could make something out of seemingly nothing. Clayton, whilst being a different player to Clough, can certainly replicate what the little wizard was bringing to the side and be the spark that is so desperately needed in the attacking third.
Away from the pitch its self, Clayton's return hasn't half given the club a massive moral boost as well. After the recent injuries and the recent results everyone at the club needed a real jab in the arm, and seeing Clayton seamlessly pick up where he left off before his injury has certainly provided that. A win would help too, like.
They do say that absence makes the heart grow founder, and it is imperative to remember that Clayton has only played ten games in a White shirt so we shouldn't put *too* much pressure upon his shoulders, especially so soon after coming back from a serious injury.
However, we've been lacking a player of Clayton's pace, drive and skill for some time now, and having him back playing on the pitch might just save things from being total doom and gloom.
At least until 5PM next Saturday.