Five Things - Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Preston North End
With the season just one week away, Bolton hosted local Championship side Preston North End in the final stage of big Phil Parkinson’s pre-season preparations, as a whole it was a rather underwhelming affair but nevertheless, here are 5 things we learned from that game.
1. A playmaker is sorely needed
I’ve been saying this for a while now but it was painfully evident yesterday that creativity in midfield is urgently needed, Mark Davies simply isn’t capable of fulfilling this role (more on that later) we need a player capable of spotting a developing chance that most people wouldn’t and we simply don’t have that, and I feel like this will seriously hamper our goalscoring tally this season if one isn’t brought in.
2. Mark Beevers is proper decent
Mark Beevers was easily the MotM for me yesterday, looked absolutely solid and confident in everything he did, made some exceptional tackles and blocks and really looked like he belonged there. If he doesn’t succumb to the rampant injury bug I think we could be looking at our player of the season in the form of Beevers.
3. Amos has serious competition
Mark Howard put in another great shift between the sticks, looked very comfortable and composed and even tempted fate and embarrassed a few Preston players (which I hope was just something to pop the crowd and not something he’ll make a habit of in the league). Ben Amos will now have to seriously step up his game in order to cement the first choice goalkeeper role and that’s a fantastic thing as he was laughably complacent last season.
4. Stop trying to make Mark Davies happen
As a former fanatical fan of Mavies this is painful to say but I just wish we’d sell him on to some Championship club or something, his best days in a Bolton shirt are behind him by a longshot, he’s tried leaving on several occasions but we for some reason keep him and when he’s on the pitch it just looks like he’s going through the motions, he runs about a lot but still has no impact on a game, let’s just leave the memories alone.
5. Sheffield United is a very winnable game
As largely tedious as yesterday’s offering was, you’d have to be a fully committed cynic to suggest there weren’t encouraging signs leading into the first league game this coming Saturday, if Proctor and Clough are fit which the right people are suggesting they will be, I see absolutely no reason why we can’t secure our first opening day victory since 2011, and that alone could set the tone for the rest of our season, and who knows, maybe we won’t be stuck in this purgatory league for as long as we thought.
Is there anything you personally learned from this game? Feel free to leave a comment.