In an unholy shit-storm of a week, it was easy to forget that Bolton Wanderers Financial Crisis had the distraction of a ninety minute football match against Walsall last weekend.
Whilst our chairman and exiled board member traded insults over the internet, Phil Parkinson had to keep his players focused on football and divert their attentions away from the circus surrounding the club.
Thanks to Parky, we can talk about football after a match day, rather than Blumarble loans.
Just shy of two weeks ago, we lost our most promising footballing talent with just hours of the transfer window remaining. I'll admit, I wasn't looking forward to the Walsall match, nor Tuesday's game at home to Rochdale. It was cold. We've been rubbish recently. It was cold. Lawrie is injured. And did I mention it was bloody cold?
It would have been very "Bolton" to crumble against Walsall, or to draw up a blank against Dale.
We could blame the headlines surrounding our complete lack of financial competency or the flurry of new signings yet to gel into the squad. However, the yellow-bellied, mentally weak and flaccid Bolton Wanderers of the Freedman-Lennon past seems to have been slowly evicted.
Phil Parkinson has imposed a negativity ban that even The Donald would be proud of. In true Bruce Rioch fashion, it was all about football. Not egos. Not owners or chairmen or current/former board members. Football.
After the Dale game, Parky said that this set of players could win "any type" of game, and I'm starting to believe him.
Here's three reasons why Phil Parkinson has proved his worth in the last two games:
1) The formation
With the immaculate Lawrie Wilson out for the rest of the season, there were question marks over how Parky would amend his team. Derik at right back? Vela? Thorpe? A diamond in midfield?
Three at the back?
Of all the options available to him, Parky got it right. By playing with three centre halves and Taylor and Morais as wing backs, the team had plenty of width to peg back Walsall's midfield. The three centre halves played comfortably together, and we looked solid. Spearing and Trotter effectively broke up any play through the middle. Only a screamer from Erhun Oztumer could beat our back line. In the second half, Bee-eat-rik dealt with any threats with relative ease.
The same three kept a convincing clean sheet in midweek also.
Against better sides, the 3-5-2 might come a cropper, but so far it has worked a treat. Rochdale attempted to soak up pressure and take a 0-0 draw, but we we strong mentally and ground out one chance that made the difference. No square pegs in round holes, but an uncharacteristic tactical risk from the gaffer which paid dividends.
We might struggle in games to come with Taylor joining Wilson on the injury list, and Spearing suspended after stupidly whacking the ball into the crowd after the goalmouth scramble on Tuesday night. However, if we can take points from both Bradford and Sheffield United, we might have just found the tonic for promotion: 3-5-
2) Filipe Morais
I like this guy. He doesn't look too interested in defending (which is slightly concerning for a player being deployed at right wing back), but he could prove to be a useful outlet going forward.
Like a game of 26-a-side at a lunchtime, Morais looked knackered when tracking back, only to find a second wind in attack. By hugging the touch line, he demands the attention of his left back, leaving gaps which Adam Le Fondre can exploit.
Morais isn't match fit yet, but he'll soon be up to speed. Just in time for a trip to Valley Parade. Beautiful.
3) Dropping Henry
Parky now has to choose 5 from 6 loanees on a match day. James Henry hasn't done much wrong for my liking, but his choice to drop him has worked so far.
Morais offered more in a wing back role than Henry would. Le Fondre looks a threat up front, but lacks match practice.
He'll soon settle back into life back at the Macron once he forges a partnership with Gary Madine.
Chris Long and Viv Solomon-Otabor provide a spark from the bench, and Tom Thorpe gives the midfield some much needed legs in the latter stages of the game.
From his six loanees, the five chosen against Walsall and Rochdale were pivotal in claiming back to back wins for the first time in 2017.
Henry will get his chances in the appropriate games. He can provide a sprinkle of magic in midfield, possibly even from a central midfield position. However, Morais' wing play and the pace coming off the bench of Chris Long can help to break the more stubborn teams down.
With the sale of Clough slowly sinking in, we can console ourselves with the notion that our most prized asset is still at the club. And right now, he's concocting a plan to get 6 points from Bradford and Sheffield United.
All you need is Clough?
Not anymore. All we need is Phil Parkinson.