Ahead of the SkyBet Championship season kicking off at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, here are my thoughts on Bolton’s chances this upcoming campaign.
What else do you think we need before the season starts?
Deep breath. Another goalkeeper, a left-back and at least another centre-back. Plus, realistically, a couple of centre midfielders - one of which is able to pass the ball - another winger and potentially another striker.
First six games:
4th August: West Bromwich Albion 4-0 Bolton Wanderers
11th August: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Bristol City
18th August: Reading 3-1 Bolton Wanderers
22nd August: Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Birmingham City
25th: Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Sheffield United
1st September: Preston North End 0-0 Bolton Wanderers
Safe to say I’m not optimistic. I think the opening weekend could be a bit of a blood bath at West Brom, but we might grab a draw and a win from two of our home games, then we always draw 0-0 at Preston.
Final league position
Realistically, we're looking at another struggle. I like the addition of Wildschut, we just need to try and add goals. Can Magennis and Donaldson do that? Who knows. We've certainly improved on last season, if we can add depth, but then so gace most other sides in the league. Finishing 21st again would be another miracle performed by Phil Parkinson.
Do we really have any youngsters capable of breaking through? If we sign another striker then it’s highly likely that Connor Hall will go out on loan. Our lack of midfielders presents an opportunity for someone to step up, so maybe Dennis Politic? But it seems unlikely.
Signing of the season
Yanic Wildschut. He potentially offers pace and power we’ve been lacking for years in wide areas, and I’m excited to see if he can step up for us this season.
I have no idea, maybe Adam Le Fondre? There’s still a worrying lack of goals in our side though.
Super-sub of the season
Probably Le Fondre, again. I can’t see him starting too often when Parky has his preferred big striker in situ, and will more likely be deployed from the bench.
Will Phil Parkinson still be our manager at the end of the season?
Yes, he’s done an amazing job to keep us in the Championship and can’t be blamed if we struggle this season.
Which old, semi-legendary player will we sign in the Winter?
Emile Heskey? Or we’ll sign Stephen Ireland in desperation having ruled him out over the summer.