There will be plenty of doom and gloom around Bolton Wanderers this week with the club now seven points from safety and just 13 games remaining in the season.
Wanderers now haven't won away from the Macron in ten months, and yesterday's game at Brighton showed why that is the case, but also showed there is some cause for optimism.
1) Deadly Heskey
I'm going to start with something positive. Amazingly I have a 100% record of seeing Emile Heskey score a goal - every time I've seen the big man play live, he has scored. I was there for his debut against Blackburn Rovers, I saw him score Bolton's first goal at Charlton Athletic and yesterday I saw him equalise against Brighton. That tells you two things - yes, I'm a rubbish fan, and no, he doesn't score very often.
2) Midfield horror show
All three of Brighton's goals yesterday came from Wanderers' midfield gifting them possession, from which the hosts then counter attacked. Ironically, despite conceding three goals Bolton actually defended pretty well. Rob Holding and Dorian Dervite were solid in the centre, while Josh Vela and Derik Osede looked relatively comfortable away from their natural positions.
3) The end of Feeney
Surely now is the time for Liam Feeney to be removed from the Bolton starting line-up. I have no idea how Feeney made it through the full 90 minutes of this match, nor how Neil Lennon decided to remove the lively Wellington Silva ahead of him after just 66 minutes.
Feeney did well for the first goal, drifting inside to set up Silva for a cross in to Heskey, and knocked a cross into the box that ended up in Jay Spearing's goal, but his general play was totally ineffective. He rarely worried his full-back, never looked to get in behind down the right flank and kept taking up a weird position that was way too far away from the touchline. He then topped it off by wasting a clear cut chance clean that would have put us 3-2 ahead, with a finish that exhuded a total lack of confidence and composure.
When young Kaiyne Woolery came on, in an unfamiliar left wing role, he immediately looked more direct, more of a threat and added width. Surely he is now a better option than Feeney? And Silva being substituted ahead of Feeney was an absolutely clueless move.
4) A dreadful day for Mark Davies
We all know that Mark Davies' move to Sheffield Wednesday broke down because he was demanding too much money. Frankly, it seems that interest has gone to Davies' head and he's forgotten that he needs to concentrate on playing football. He was as ineffective as Feeney against Brighton, and was fully culpable for gifting the winning goal by messing around on the ball deep in his own half. This was a really poor performance from what is supposedly one of our better players - a player that still hasn't scored yet this season.
5) Away form means relegation is the reality
Despite there being some optimism from Bolton's recent short uplift in form, and glimmers of hope from the clash with Brighton, no side deserves to stay up if they go ten months without a victory away from home. We are now seven points adrift of safety and, with some tough looking fixtures coming up - including trips to four of the current top eight - it's just impossible to imagine the side dragging themselves out of this mess.
Brighton aren't a great side, despite playing some decent football, and this defeat sums up how bad Bolton are away from home. Having twice got back on level terms we should have been heading back north with no less than a point, but a lack of discipline saw us come away with nothing.