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Bolton Wanderers vs Burnley: Five Things

Liam escaped the dull repetitive cycle of evening home-life to take himself to the Macron to see how Bolton Wanderers pre-season preparations were getting on. Here is what he thought

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1) Jay Spearing is looking ready.

It has been a difficult couple of years for the former Liverpool midfielder.  After finding himself down the pecking order under manager Neil Lennon, when Spearing's chance did arrive he unfortunately was restricted in appearance due to Wanderers' financial woes at the end of last season.

Some though Spearing may well be heading out of Bolton and of course there is still time but he does look in good nick and put in a very good display against Premier League new-boys Burnley. Spearing's passing looked sharper than I have seen it in years and always seemed available for the ball as Bolton struggled in Shaun Dyche's high pressing defence.

A well-taken goal can't do his confidence any harm either although I'd be concerned about the mobility of a partnership with Liam Trotter in central midfield, we will need to see what happens there. Very promising though.

2) Goalkeeper Battles

There isn't much in this and I couldn't be happier that Phil Parkinson has brought in genuine competition for Ben Amos. It is no disrespect to Paul Rachubka but Mark Howard will be pressuring for that number one shirt and do not be surprised if he lines up against his former club on 8th August.

Both had solid games to be fair and next year will be huge for Ben Amos as he sees his once promising career slip through his questionable grasp. I just hope Amos' big chance doesn't come from distance ...
Ben seems to in command currently as he wore the number one shirt and various other players wore their squad numbers (including strangely Wheater in 31, despite not being signed at the club).

3) Lawrie Wilson the Wingman.

More Goose than Maverick, this seems to be an experiment that keeps being tested and for me is a complete non-starter. He was probably pushed up to allow Phil Parkinson to have a better look at Neil Eardly, currently on trial at the club.

Wilson just doesn't impose himself in the role and seems content in recycling possesion rather than making a genuine contribution in attack. I'm not blaming Wilson, I very much like him at RB and hope he will be in the squad next Saturday in his favoured position.

As for Eardly, it was difficult to say as Burnley really made him work and he seemed to stand up to it well. I think he needs a closer look or looking at as a sole entity as it was a really difficult evening to judge a full-backs ability.

4) Kaiyne Woolery - The Out Ball

Such a workhorse, Woolery will be a huge asset to Phil Parkinson's Bolton squad as he is always working tirelessly to be available for the long ball through the channels. It will be clearly useful away from home, you don't need me to explain why.

I am hopeful this can be a good year for Kaiyne and whilst I am sure we are in the market for striker (with some quarters reporting we have a Premier League Striker agreed on loan), we haven't got one yet and I do feel Woolery needs to take this chance with both hands, like Clough and Holding before him.

5) Positivism

I dare say I am starting to feel as though we are through the worst of it and a post-Eddie Davies era can be a turning point for Bolton Wanderers. Things seem to be finding their natural place upstairs at the club and with Parkinson being given some reasonable flexibility in regards to recruitment, I am allowing myself a little hope for the year to come.

As for targets for the year, what can we expect? We went down by some way in the end and the team isn't too different yet but with the good additions of Mark Beevers, Chris Taylor and Mark Howard, I am feeling positive.
I'm sure it is misguided though,  it always is ...