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Five Things: Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Leeds United

Jonny assesses the Whites’ narrow defeat to Leeds on Sunday

Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Disappointed, but not overly disheartened. Let’s get straight into it.

1) Slow Starts Will Cost Us

It’s a pretty obvious statement to make, but a very sluggish first 45 minutes cost us on Sunday. We conceded three exceptionally poor goals, all of which were more than preventable. With our first few fixtures being so tough, we have to do better against Milwall on Saturday if we’re to give ourselves a fighting chance moving forward. Given how solid we were at the back last season, I’m sure Parky was very disappointed when he watched those goals back after the game.

2) Gary Madine Is Still My Hero, And So Is Will Buckley

What a fucking bloke Madine is. He played out of his skin up front and was by far and away our best player. He bagged himself a goal AND won the penalty that put the wind back into our sales. Long may it continue. Buckley is properly mint too; he could be key for us this year. A serious player at this level IMO.

3) What On Earth Happened To Andy Taylor?

Deary me, poor AT. The man was ruthlessly terrorised for the best part of the first half - he looked like he’d forgotten how to defend. He was easily one of our best players last season so I was pretty disappointed to witness his shithousery yesterday. Given it was the first game of the season I’ll put it down to lack of competitive game time, but what I will say is that Mark Beevers was one of the many conductors to Taylor’s downfall. He provided next to no cover for him, meaning he was brutally exposed time and time again, often having to deal with two Leeds attackers at once. I hope we can iron out these defnsive niggles pretty quickly, otherwise we’ve got big problems.

4) Josh Cullen Is Decent, But I’m Not 100% Convinced

Cullen was great in centre midfield in the second half, but, like most of the others, he started slowly. I think it took him about half an hour to find a white shirt. We all need to remember that both he and Reece Burke are young, inexperienced individuals that have come to us to learn, so we need to let them flourish and not expect them to set the world alight week in, week out. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’re both very taleneted footballers, but they aren’t going to be here forever, so let’s not rely on them too much.

5) Width Could Be A Big Issue For Us

The 3-5-2 system is all well and good, but when our wing backs aren’t getting forward as much as they should be, we’ve got real service issues up top. Based on Sunday’s performance I think there’s a need for one or two more natural wide players; whether or not that’s possible I won’t get in to, but it should definitely be a consideration - especially now Ameobi is out.