A frustrating afternoon at Boundary Park and the gap has been closed. So, what can we take from this weekend’s result?
We’re hugely missing Gary Madine
Parkinson was forced to change the team after Gaz picked up a shoulder injury at Scunthorpe, this meant ALF found himself as the loan striker at Oldham and once again, the hoofball tactic continued to anger Wanderers fans and presumably, Le Fondre himself. With no big man to provide knock on’s, ALF was pretty helpless up there on his own which meant that, for the majority of the afternoon, we didn't really look like scoring. We need Madine back, and fast.
It was evident that throughout the Oldham game, the lads were battling against awful conditions and clearly weren't used to the wind that was swirling around above them. With the Macron being so enclosed, adverse weather conditions tend to minimally affect the team, so when faced with a whirlwind like they faced at Boundary Park, the side who were used to the conditions had the advantage over us from kick off. In League One, the lads have to be prepared to endure these sort of conditions and not all stadiums are of such quality that we are fortunate to have. Goal kicks seemed to be the main victim of the weather which makes Howard’s wayward long balls slightly more forgivable.
I am a massive fan of Parkinson, but when you are one down, massively struggling and have such influential players sat on the sidelines, their introductions should be much earlier. James Henry, primarily, is one who should've ideally featured from the off whilst Max Clayton similarly deserved a full game, in my opinion. Chris Long, however, is our star impact sub and should really have been given a solid twenty minutes to half an hour to make his impact. It was evident from the stands by half time what changes needed to be made, thankfully Parky identified these too, but not soon enough for those particular circumstances at Oldham.
The Bury Game
Thankfully, we can quickly put this game behind us and have the chance to put things right as early as Tuesday. This is an ideal opportunity for Parky to sort it out and get us back on track for promotion without having to wait a full week. With the comfort of being at home and the likely re-introduction of Andrew Taylor and possibly Madine, Bolton need to take this game by the scruff of the neck and put three or four past Bury. Unable to rely on surrounding results, we need to focus on getting three vital points on Tuesday as it is still ours to lose.
Automatic promotion still look largely achievable from our perspective, in need of six points from the remaining three games, this could be finalised as early as Saturday at Port Vale. With Fleetwood and Bradford both playing tomorrow, mathematically we could do it on Tuesday but can’t afford to rely on this and just look to get this over the line sooner rather than later. Preferably, I’d rather not let this burden us until the last game of the season, despite its inevitably because, well, we’re Bolton Wanderers, we don't do things simply.