So here's my thoughts on the eve of our Championship return.
First six games.
August 6th: Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Leeds United
August 12th: Millwall 0-1 Bolton Wanderers
August 15th: Birmingham City 0-0 Bolton Wanderers
August 19th: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Derby County
August 26th: Hull 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
September 9th: Bolton Wanderers 1-3 Middlesbrough
We're up against better quality teams now that are also generally in a financially stronger place. But Parky has a unified squad that is willing to fight for each other and, more importantly, confidence in heaps from a successful promotion campaign. When suspensions, injuries and tiredness hit his small squad later on in the season, we are going to suffer, but the first two months or so may take us pleasantly by surprise.
Final League Position.
I think there's more chance of us re-signing Spearing than the embargo being lifted and even if it was, we aren't going to be big spenders. A lot does depend on who else we bring in. With the Amos departure we have 19 first team pro's, leaving 4 spaces to fill. I'm assuming they'll be filled by loans but I also assuming they'll be useful loans. Added to a well organised Parky squad, it'll be tight, we'll be bottom six, but not bottom three. 19th.
Mark Beevers. After a highly promising early Championship career with Sheffield Wednesday, Beevers found himself in League One with Millwall and Bolton. This bloke is made for Championship success though and I can't see him missing a second chance to succeed. At 27, Beevers is in his prime and I expect him to excel this season.
Signing of the Season.
Jem Karacan. A real coup for Bolton getting this bloke onboard. The Turkish international had a highly successful stint at Reading that caught the eye of giants Galatasaray. Fortunately for us, the move to Turkey turned into a nightmare for Jem and thanks to the fact he is close friends with ALF, he came to Bolton to resurrect his career. Still only 28, Karacan, as witnessed first hand by fans in the Peterborough game, possesses that quality that we have been missing in midfield. If we can get Josh Cullen through the door, a midfield of Cullen, Karacan and Vela will go a long way to ensuring we stay in the Championship.
Adam Le Fondre. Seriously, who else is there? Any doubts as to whether ALF has still got it were stamped out upon news of his wonder goal against Premiership Stoke in our final pre-season friendly. I'll be surprised if ALF doesn't get at least 15 goals by season end.
Supersub of the Season.
Filipe Morais. Everyone talks about Ameobi but for me it's Morais. I can't see this 31 year old fella passing up the opportunity of a Championship swan song. Susceptibility to injury and competition from established Championship winners Buckley and Ameobi, will see Morais coming on as sub more than starting matches. I think he will do well.
What will Parky do?
Parky has already shown that he can adapt a team to suit ever changing player availability. Phil had a plan A to E last season. It will be the same this time round, particularly when injuries ad suspensions hit our wafer thin squad. Personally I think Parkinson will survive unless luck seriously runs out. I don't think Anderson can afford to sack him during the inevitable bad runs we will have this season. It's not the money, just the knowledge that when the shit hits the fan, Parky can put together a team that will stop us getting relegated.