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Liam’s Column: Big Game Musings

Looking back

Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City - FA Cup Semi Final Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

As we creep towards Bolton’s biggest game since the home tie versus Blackpool almost 4 years ago there seems to be a feel of expectance around Bolton that finally, after years of decline, we as Bolton fans have a moment to cherish.

Standing in our way are a Peterborough United team with seemingly nothing to play for whilst our promotion rivals Fleetwood Town face a Port Vale team fighting for their lives with it all to play for. Given our superior goal difference, a fruit of our truly remarkable defensive labours, we realistically only need to draw this game to seal promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

My nature personally is to never take anything for granted but like a lot of Bolton fans I can’t help but dream of the day/night session that will follow promotion on Sunday and I know I won’t be alone in that. The players won’t need chancers like me telling them there’s a job to do, even though our form has dipped slightly in the run-in, our commitment has not and I genuinely feel we were only one stroke of luck away from winning either the Chesterfield or Bury game.

The players deserve promotion, they have been fantastic. After the disappointment of last year and the restrictions in place at the club, this season could have very easily been very different. Of the three relegated sides, we are the only one to register a season of note, never mind a promotion charge.

Off the pitch, it’s good to look at things with a bit of perspective. A lot of things are being restructured, including relationships with suppliers and couriers, so there are likely to be sensationalist headlines but this is just business at the end of the day and to be fair all matters to date have been resolved. The very public spat with the Andersons and Sports Shield did not make great reading but at the end of the day, relationships don’t always work and that chapter is now closed.

Credit must be given to the Wanderers board for the way they have been able to give Phil Parkinson room to move in the transfer market, given the quite remarkable restrictions. Has any other team ever been promoted despite being in a transfer embargo all season?

Lastly I wanted to say simply good luck to Phil Parkinson, he has worked absolute wonders for our club and I will be as happy for him as much as anybody else should Bolton secure promotion on Sunday. He deserves his shot at the Championship as someone who has been successful in both League One & League Two for years.