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Our Bolton Wanderers Predictions: Rob

Rob takes a look ahead to the new season in League One

Can Zach Clough take League One by storm this season?
Can Zach Clough take League One by storm this season?
Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Bolton Wanderers are three days away from resuming life in the third tier of English football for the first time in 23 years.

Sheffield United visit the Macron Stadium on Saturday afternoon, so I'll give my assessment of where our squad is at.

What are your thoughts on Bolton's summer activity?

It could have been worse, but at least we did actually manage to sign some players. None of the new arrivals are especially exciting, and haven't really set League One alight in the past - although Chris Taylor did reach double figures in goals for Oldham in two seasons. I'm hoping and praying that Jamie Proctor is a slightly better version of Gary Madine than, well, Gary Madine.

The first priority of the new board should have been to remove the deadwood that has been rotting our squad for years. But the likes of Darren Pratley and Mark Davies still remain, while promising youngsters that had shown some passion for the club and put in some decent performances departed. I know it may be difficult to move these guys on, but they've proven season after season that their heart isn't in it at Bolton.

Is Phil Parkinson the man to arrest Bolton's decline?

I hope so. Early signs are that Parkinson has the side much better organised and, while it seems unlikely we're going to be the most exciting team to watch, hopefully he'll start getting the basics that have been missing for years right. He did a decent job with Bradford, largely in cup competitions, but this is one of the most difficult jobs out there at the moment - so good luck to him.

What else do you think we need before the season starts?

Someone who can pull the strings in midfield. We've lacked creativity for years, and we still don't have anyone that can pass the thing. Pratley can't pass the ball five yards and Davies should be among the best players in the division, but I feel like I've been saying that about him for decades. The defence seems a bit more solid, although the thought of still having Dean Moxey at left-back and Dorian Dervite at the heart of defence terrifies me.

There's also a scary lack of depth, when you consider that George Newell has made a few substitute appearances and Conor Wilkinson is rubbish, and Alex Finney is our third choice centre-back (assuming Derik doesn't play there).

How do you see the season going?

There's no denying we should be challenging at the top of League One. I can't see us getting off to a great start -€” as usual -€” and I'm not convinced a lot of our players have the aptitude to compete with some of the teams in this league, but I'll tip us to make the play-offs.

Who will be our top goalscorer and why?

Zach Clough. He's the first name on the teamsheet and if he can stay fit then he should bag himself a hatful at this level.

Who will be our best player and why?

To resist from saying Clough... We've been sadly lacking a real leader at Bolton for years now, but I think Mark Beevers has the qualities to fill that gap -€” regardless of whether or not Pratley still somehow manages to wear the captain's armband. We badly need defensive stability and if Beevers can deliver that then he could well be our best player.

Mark Davies also should be our best player at this level, but I'm fully expecting him to be a massive disappointment once again.

Who will be our worst player and why?

Darren Pratley, he's just a dreadful footballer and an even worse captain.

Who will be booked the most?

Darren Pratley or Jay Spearing.

Who will get sent off the most?

Probably Dorian Dervite. Or Beevers, he looks like he has a cheeky professional foul in him.

How many injuries will we have throughout the season?

About 753. Of which 90% will be to Clough, Clayton and Davies.

Will Phil Parkinson still be our manager come the end of the season?

Yes, I really hope so.

Will we still have Zach Clough come the end of the season?

Absolutely, we need to build a team around Clough and he needs a season at this level - and hopefully he can .

Which old, semi-legendary player will we sign in Winter?

Emile Heskey. Oh wait, that actually happened...

Where will we finish and why?

I'll go for a fifth place finish and promotion at Wembley in the play-off final in May. After a disappointing start we'll recover and go on a run that finally gives us supporters something to cheer about -€” as opposed to having to repeatedly pretend that we scored a goal, like at Fulham on the final day of the season relegation party in May...