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Bolton Wanderers Comment: Liam O'Meara's Column

Liam uses his Friday to give you his warped thoughts on what has been happening at Bolton Wanderers.

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Surpassing Expectations

What a start we have made. I know some will have thought we would fare well at this level but I must admit back in July or August when we had a threadbare squad and the dust was still settling off-the-pitch, I felt a mid-table finish would be a lofty ambition.

Phil Parkinson has done a truly remarkable job at Bolton. He has turned us into real contenders with a spine of players that have known nothing but failure at Bolton. A reflection of this is David Wheater, a man ever-present in our decline into a huge part of our success, a genuine reliable player.

Mark Beevers has been a big factor in that, the former Millwall stopper has been the key part of the Wanderers turn around and with the addition of the two new full backs and goalkeeper Mark Howard, Bolton look far more solid.

Tom Thorpe has also been a lively addition to the Wanderers spine and alongside Josh Vela and the rejuvenated Jay Spearing, have formed a very busy midfield trio which have constantly outworked teams they have faced so far this season.

It's great, we're solid, we're dangerous and we can go up.

Keeping Clough

After the cruel injury to creative midfielder Mark Davies, there was a creative void in the Wanderers side and it was no coincidence that Davies absence led to a profound Bolton slump. As the Whites slid down the table, new signing's James Henry and Sammy Ameobi threatened to deliver but didn't have the same output.

Up step Zach Clough back from his own injury woes and give Bolton a real edge at this level. Clough is coming of age leading the Wanderers line in League One and his awarding of Player of Month this morning by the EFL is nothing but deserved.

I'm sure there will be those dreaded scouts watching the talented Mancunian and I would not be surprised (if Clough can keep fit) if a bid is received from a Championship club in January.

I'm not one to stand in the way of development, like many I was absolutely delighted to see Rob Holding go to Arsenal, where he has made a decent first impression, albeit for a lower fee than I would have liked.

In the case of Clough though I would like us to resist if possible although I acknowledge that every player has his price. I think Clough remaining would be good for both parties. Clough has been a fixture of the Wanderers first team for some time now but injury have curtailed him stringing together a longer run of games, he will get that at Bolton.

For Bolton, it was clear how much we relied on him, he has that quality, that cutting edge and is playing with a confidence that we simply cannot be without. Even if we did get a healthy fee for Clough, he will be nigh-on impossible to replace, you don't get that infectious enthusiasm everywhere.

Negatives

At the time of writing the 2015 have still not been submitted and this is a concern for many Wanderers fans who whilst are willing to get behind the new owners and have enjoyed successes on-the-field, still have the lingering doubt in the back of their minds given the previous regime. I'm sure all is well on that front.

The injuries in midfield have been a cause for concern, we have a habit of playing our strongest side possible and trying to keep the momentum up as long as possible and that's all well and good but at the end of the day our transfer activity is limited and we have to look after our players.

Our squad depth could be our Achilles' Heel and we have to do all we can to protect it