Welcome to my Bolton Wanderers Season Predictions.
I’ve already gone through my league predictions and touched on Wanderers a bit there, but I thought you deserved the full weight of my ideas concerning our upcoming season which starts in just over a week.
So, I fancy Aston Villa to win the league, but what about Wanderers?
First Six Games
August 6th - Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Leeds United
August 12th - Millwall 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
August 15th - Birmingham City 3-0 Bolton Wanderers
August 19th - Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Derby County
August 26th - Hull City 3-0 Bolton Wanderers
September 9th - Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Middlesbrough
There’s no hiding from it. We have a really tough start to the season. We face some big teams with big names and big players. If we don’t hit the ground running then we could be in big big doo-doo.
Final League Position
I’m going to cheat and give two.
With embargo - 24th. I just don’t see us being able to organise and extract sufficient quality out of what we have without substantial improvement. This isn’t a slight against Phil Parkinson and his troops, but we are swimming with some fierce sharks this season and I worry that even Parky will struggle to get enough out of the group.
Without embargo - 18th. I think we somehow manage to get out of this financial mess (thanks Dean) and strengthen the side in key areas (ie goalkeeper, midfield and up front) with real quality then that combined with the team spirit and organisation nous that Parkinson brings will see us easily clear of the drop zone, ready to build for the season that comes after.
Josh Vela. He struggled badly last time out, as they all did, but his 2016/17 campaign really did give hope that he can be the sort of player that we really desperately need. His attacking runs and timing evoked memories of Kevin Nolan, but obviously Josh can run and track back and pass and tackle, which Nolan couldn’t.
Signing of the Season
I hope we haven’t made it yet, but of the current crop I think Jem Karacan will be a key man for us. His experience with Reading both in this league and in the Premier League will be crucial in guiding younger players like Vela through the season. His leadership and passing ability is going to be so important in games where we need to stifle the opposition and keep possession.
I fancy Adam Le Fondre here, unsurprisingly. With the benefit of a full pre-season under his belt and with the knowledge that he is secure and stable with the club, I expect he’ll hit the ground running. I’m not expecting 25 goals from him, but 24 would be about right. Honourable mention too to Adam Armstrong who I believe to be a decent signing and will hopefully make an impact from the bench.
Supersub of the Season
Sammy Ameobi. His flair and ability to run at defenders is something that our squad was really lacking before his signing back in August last season. He might be a bit wishy -ashy but he’s 25 now and it’s time to knuckle down and crack on.
What Will Parky Do?
Can Parkinson withstand a poor start? Will Ken pull the trigger if we are looking shaky at Christmas? I hope the answer is yes to the first and no to the second. My fear is that if we have a Dougie Freedman-esque start to the season and go a few games without a win and start to look adrift early on then the terrace murmurs will begin and things will start to head in a very familiar direction. He’s the right man for us and even if we do go down, he’d still be the right man in my eyes.
As for Ken Anderson, well, nobody knows. The decision to bin off Neil Lennon was made without hesitation and was a last-chance saloon move before what was in the end an inevitable relegation to League One. If we are say 20th at Christmas, and if he sees any chance of him being bought out by investors disappearing over the hill, will he panic? He seems like a ruthless businessman, and so if he considers a change of manager the best course of action to protect his investment then will he hold off just because Parky was decent for us last year? Probably not.
It’s a long hard season and I’m very scared by it.