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Does Pre-Season Success Equal Regular Season Success?

Bolton Wanderers v Houston Dynamo Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With the club making a big song and dance about inviting Stoke City to the Reebok for a pre-season fixture, it got me thinking about whether it really matters who Bolton Wanderers face in pre-season.

Given that records on our pre-season escapades are not widely known or kept, I went back to 2008 which was the first year that the data became available for access:

As you can see, we are actually fairly good in pre-season.

In 63 games we have won 26, at a ratio of 41%, stats fans. In the interests of completeness, we drew 19 games and won 18.

Our adventures have taken us far and wide in that time, to America, Spain, Scandinavia and Newport. In recent years the purse-strings have been tightened, with rumours that the current mob are heading to Scotland - no doubt to stay in a caravan or somewhere similarly cheap.

As our on-field regular season fortunes declined, and declined rapidly, it seems that our bright optimism has often started (and ended) in pre-season. Dropping from the Premier League to the Championship didn't seem to affect our form, indeed 2011 saw us record our best numbers with six victories along the way.

Things have been much more even in recent years, and we will soon find out who is to join Stoke in facing the lads as we gear up for our Championship return.

Stoke City might not be the most glamorous opponent, but they will certainly be a good test for Phil Parkinson's men.

Preparing ourselves for a tough season seems very sensible and I would expect similarly dour opposition to be the name of the game as plans are revealed before the August curtain raiser at home to Sunderland.