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Bolton Wanderers Half Season Review - Player-by-Player - The Defence

Chris takes a look at the players on an individual basis and assigns an arbitrary number score accordingly

Northampton Town v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

Merry Christmas you filthy animals!

So here we are, halfway(ish) through the season.

Having blown our chance to top the league by Christmas Day, Phil Parkinson and Bolton Wanderers will be looking to bounce back against Shrewsbury on Boxing Day before welcoming table-topping Scunthorpe on New Year's Eve.

It's therefore time to go through each player and judge their half-season performance. Part 2 and Part 3 will follow in a day or two:

Mark Howard - 7

Signed from Sheffield United, Howard quickly assumed the first-choice goalkeeper slot and in turn forced Wanderers to send Ben Amos to Cardiff.

Howard started the season really well, and soon won favour with Bolton fans - no mean feat for a keeper. His half-season was brought to an end during the away defeat to Peterborough where he suffered a hand injury and was added to the injury list.

Ben Alnwick - 8

Brought in as an understudy to Howard, and following an unconvincing debut in the previously mentioned Peterborough defeat, the former Tottenham Hotspur man has since grown in stature, improving every week and will be offering Parkinson a huge headache once Howard is back and available.

He appears to be a more confident handler of the ball and his arrival into the team coincided with our best run of the season. I think Howard will have a job on his hands in getting his place back.

Lewis Buxton - 6

A strange player. Blessed with barely any pace but a fine defensive nous, Buxton started the season as first choice right back.

The form, since, of Lawrie Wilson has kept Buxton out of the team with no prospect of the ex-Sheffield Wednesday man getting back in any time soon.

Dean Moxey - 6

Another player who started well but faded and was then replaced, Moxey has never quite shown what he is capable of at the club and you have to consider whether he is primed for a January departure given the form of Andrew Taylor and that he is probably earning a fair wedge for doing the best part of nowt.

Mark Beevers - 10

I don't mind giving him a ten. I think his performances since signing from Millwall have been pretty much perfect.

You only have to see how he has dragged David Wheater up from the floor to see his influence. I think he is one of our most important players and is perhaps the best signing the club has made since Gary Cahill.

Andrew Taylor - 7

A steady eddie, Taylor joined on loan from Wigan and was swiftly installed as first choice left back displacing Moxey.

He has been a solid presence in the back line and contributes well going forward.

Derik Osede - 7

Took his time to get fit and then to get in the team, but Derik always brings his calm and composed self to proceedings and performed very well as a partner to Beevers during Wheater's absence. He was, in my opinion, very unlucky to be immediately dropped for the ex-Middlesbrough man.

His versatility is maybe his curse, but I think his class will prove itself and I would expect him to be first choice before too long - though I think that will be in midfield rather than defence.

Lawrie Wilson - 8

In the best form of his Bolton Wanderers career, Wilson has been great since displacing Buxton.

He's also a very lovely man with wavy hair that reminds of me a fine spaghetti.

David Wheater - 9

Another player in the form of his life, Wheater has gone from the clogging bantz-ridden ape of last season into a blossoming flower.

I give Beevers a lot of credit for this, but Wheater himself has been a strong and imposing presence and a hugely important member of our defence.


So there you go. A swift review of our defensive line.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know below the line.