I’m back with yet another punt at how this season is going to pan out and in particular, how Bolton Wanderers are going to fair.
What else do you think we need before the season starts?
At the point of writing this, we’re still in need of three or four players, however, subject to confirmation, we’ve had the usual pointers that one, perhaps two new faces are on the way and their announcements are imminent but at this moment, a keeper, a left back, a central midfielder and a striker.
To be precise, Antonee Robinson, Karl Henry and Joe Garner. Those all, of course, being in an ideal world and having given up hope on us signing Charlie Wyke and without being linked with any specific keeper, the rest is down to trial and error in the hope that we end up with some quality additions.
First six games:
4th August: West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Bolton Wanderers
11th August: Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Bristol City
18th August: Reading 0-1 Bolton Wanderers
22nd August: Bolton Wanderers 2-0 Birmingham City
25th August: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Sheffield United
1st September: Preston North End 0-0 Bolton Wanderers
The piss-up will no doubt be more organised in the away end than it will be in the Bolton Wanderers brewery on the opening day but may begin to pickup the odd point here and there, particularly at Reading, despite our start of season hoodoo’s. I think we’ll be able to take advantage of Birmingham whilst they’re struggling but lose narrowly to yours bitterly and then perhaps nick the annual point at Deepdale.
Final League Position:
19th. I said 17th on the podcast but I went with the same last season and have decided to play it safe this time round too. We weren't far off last season and I can’t see this season ending to differently, bar the last game of the season.
A safe bet here would be Connor Hall but I’m going to go with Joe Pritchard. From what I’ve seen of the ex-Spurs lad in pre-season, he's impressed massively in the middle of the park with his maturity, professionalism, composure, stamina, you name it, he's the next Josh Vela.
Let’s hope he can keep his expectations of breaking in to the first team realistic and keep his feet firmly on the ground but in an ideal world, match my hopes for him and if anything, surpass them.
Signing of the season:
Sorry, Rob. Sammy Ameobi. Some might be scratching their heads but extending his contract is one of the best pieces of business we've done over the last few years. To the many who I’m sure will disagree or label this a cop-out, you’d have all realised how much of a loss he'd have been if he was doing what he did at Peterborough on Saturday elsewhere.
If I have to pick from an actual new face then I’d say Yanic Wildschut with Erhun Oztumer a close second, I get the feeling they’re both going to really strengthen us going forward this season, lets just hope we have some re-enforcements lined up at the back.
Adam Le Fondre. Who else? Always had goals in him and always will do. Contributions from the other frontmen are really going to help both him and us as a team this season, but I can’t help but think Alfie is going to shine this season, providing he's not muscled out by new faces.
Josh Magennis. I have a hoax that he’ll start the season from the bench but his athleticism, strength, speed, enthusiasm to make a good first impression and all the rest of it will really help us as the teams tire in the latter stages of each game.
Will Phil Parkinson still be our manager at the end of the season?
I really hope so. He’s an excellent manager and I’m grateful for everything he's done with the team to get us back to the Championship, helped players mature and improve, stood by us through thick and thin and still managed to muster up performances when it mattered.
He’s remained professional, upbeat, confident and give 100% in everything he does for us and all of which is something we haven't had since the days of Sam Allardyce, so unless things go horrendously wrong then yes, a really hopeful yes.
Which old, semi-legendary player will we sign in the winter?
If we don't sign Stephen Ireland then Rivaldo. Or Julio Baptista. It’s still on. As ex-Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny once infamously sang, ‘it’s happening again, it’s happening again, you know the rest...’
Anyway, bring on the Hawthorns, tin-hats at the ready, lads!