It’s hard not to be excited by Bolton right now, but I’ve noticed some things that are a little concerning in amongst all that good. Here’s my Five Things:
Important to capitalise on slip-ups
Football is a game that is all about taking chances and Bolton did just that. Not only did we score the one big chance we got but also, given all 3 of our main rivals dropped points, we took the opportunity to make ground on Scunthorpe and give ourselves room to breathe over Sheffield United and Bradford. At the end of the season, if we are still in with a shout, it is days like this that will be the difference and it is good to see Bolton finally taking advantage when we can.
Parky’s tactic won’t always work
Yet again Bolton scored early and ground out the result from there, but it wasn’t without its near misses. Northampton had the ball in the net after an almighty scramble in the box and only the offside flag saved us. The problem is that we invite pressure after we score a goal and that isn’t always going to work simply because the law of averages dictates that we will concede at some point. I don’t understand why we didn’t go for more goals given that we didn’t find it that difficult to break Northampton down. It might be working now, but I don’t think Parky’s tactic is something we should do every game.
Vela might need a rest soon
Don’t get me wrong, I love Josh Vela in the 10 role but the reason I love him there is because of his work rate. 3 games in a week of working yourself silly for 90 minutes must be knackering and I’m worried about him burning out. He wasn’t at his best against Northampton and while he still played OK, he tired very quickly, for me. Maybe he needs to be taken off in games just to give him some respite and keep him fit and playing well all season.
Beevers misses Wheater
Due to the immense performances he has put in this season, Mark Beevers has set himself a benchmark for him to achieve every game. Against Northampton and by all accounts against Coventry too, he wasn’t quite right. He isn’t making mistakes as such, but he looks shakier than he did when he was with Wheater. I think while Derik is a solid centre-half, as proven by 3 straight clean sheets, Beevers is a lot more confident with his pal next to him.
Wheater is just as good in the air as him and the fact Derik isn’t means Beevers is always under pressure to win those headers. Once Wheater is fit, Beevers will be the most relieved among us.
I still like Jamie Proctor
I’m not being a contrarian for the sake of it here; I think Jamie deserves a shot up top. When he replaced the again tireless but nonetheless tired Gary Madine, Proctor played one of the most important roles in seeing out the victory. He only had 10 minutes or so, but in those 10 minutes he frightened both Nyatanga and Zakuani and put pressure on them like they hadn’t seen all second half. Madine doesn’t do this, even though I think he’s a better footballer, and it relieved some of the pressure on the backline that could have resulted in a goal. I don’t think he should start, but I do think 10 minutes isn’t enough for him make the difference I think he’s capable of.