It sure feels good writing this, Bolton Wanderers have just beaten Hull City by a goal to nil lifting Wanderers out of the relegation zone. The win means we have back to back wins in the Championship for the first time since boxing day 2014.
The team reverted to the usual 4-2-3-1 despite having beaten Sheffield United using 3-5-2. Sammy Ameobi, Will Buckley, Mark Little and Josh Vela all returned to the starting line up.
The game started quite dull. There was very little action at all in the first 15 minutes, perhaps a symptom of 2 games in 48 hours. The hectic schedule might have played a role in some pretty bad luck as we lost Karl Henry to injury early on quickly followed by Darren Pratley. With all the teeth and grit gone from the midfield, it was up to Josh Cullen and Filipe Morais to fill the void. Both players went on to have a brilliant game, Cullen in particular was impressive. The goal came from an unlikely source, a Gary Madine free kick; and what a free kick. From there on out it was all Wanderers. After half time it continued to be all one way with Wanderers ultimately unlucky not to have scored 3 or 4. Hull came back later in the game and were unlucky not to equalise twice but Wanderers saw it out and walked away with 3 points, lifting us out of the relegation zone.
On reflection I’m happy Parkinson reverted to 4-2-3-1. We do look open with a back 3 and a pacey Hull attack would have found no issue slotting in passes between a slow Wheater and co. Whilst Buckley had a pretty poor game, Ameobi adds too much to us going forward to leave out. Wouldn’t mind seeing Noone or even Robinson given a go on the left next time out.
Speaking of, Antonee Robinson has been an absolute revelation this year for us. It is imperative we keep him for the season. Should we be successful, he’ll be a shoe in for young player of the year. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep hold of Madine but with performances like today’s, suitors will come knocking.
The main worry now is what to do if Henry and Pratley are out long term. We have Derik Osede who could slot in to the defensive midfield role well. Jem Karacan could find his way back to the bench at the very least and all. Cullen has more than merited his spot in the last two games, but he definitely suits being more advanced. We also have youngster, Jeff King who could also fill a gap in the centre of midfield. Hopefully both players will recover but we might need to think about bringing someone in if not.
On to the next game after a bit of a break now. In this form, I cannae wait!