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Were Bolton Wanderers right to call off the Doncaster Rovers game?

Will asks the question in his debut piece

Bolton Wanderers v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One - University of Bolton Stadium Photo by Dave Howarth/PA Images via Getty Images

Yesterday, it was announced by joint administrator Paul Appleton that Bolton Wanderers game against Doncaster Rovers would be postponed due to welfare concerns for Wanderers’ young players.

The lads have impressed so far in the season despite a 5-0 defeat at Tranmere. The 0-0 draw with Coventry and the 5-2 loss against Rochdale showed true grit and heart from footballers who look like they would give their all for the white shirt - something that is very refreshing to see. However these players, as shown against the more experienced Tranmere, can be hung out to dry. Though they did match the team from Birkenhead for a good thirty minutes, the physical nature of the league has and will continue to take its toll.

Sam Allardyce, ex Bolton manager, this morning on TalkSport said “If they are good enough, they are old enough.” regarding the young trotters. Which I agree with to an extent, however if it is a case of safeguarding our talented prospects from horrific (potentially career ending) tackles, like that on Harry Brockbank last Saturday, then I fully support the decision taken by Bolton Wanderers.

However, as Bolton already have a minus twelve point deduction from going into administration and a potential punishment from forfeiting the Brentford match last season, is it worth another punishment from the EFL?

The EFL have expressed their displeasure at Wanderers’ decision to postpone the Doncaster match without first informing the league or opponents:

“The club has stated it has taken the decision to postpone the game as a result of concerns over the welfare of its young players, given the frequency of fixtures and the impact this would have on their physical and emotional well-being.”

“The EFL understands the challenging position the club currently finds itself in whilst negotiations continue over its purchase. However, it would have expected the club to have first interfaced with the EFL, giving it an opportunity to consider the application to postpone, and consulted with the club’s opposition, Doncaster Rovers before making a public announcement. “The EFL remains acutely aware of the ongoing risks this challenging and complex situation has to the integrity of the competition.”

A ‘challenging and complex situation’ not helped in the past by the EFL and their ‘fit and proper person’ test? Or is that too harsh?

Wanderers apparently asked the league to postpone the Tranmere game but were denied. Perhaps the rash decision was made in desperation, as teams like Bolton and Bury are in a league system that doesn’t care about its founder members or young players...or is that too harsh as well?

If it wasn’t already looking likely, a further points deduction would all but finish the season very prematurely for Bolton Wanderers. A sorry sight for everyone involved.

There is a case for saying that Bolton should just play their games and get on with it, fulfill the fixtures and be quiet. The players have shown they are good enough after holding Coventry to a draw and putting two past Rochdale. However the Tranmere game, a few days after a tense cup tie, proved too much for the youngsters. I’m sure the mental strain of everything else going on at the club didn’t help in their preparation. The whole situation is a shambles and nobody really knows what is going on. Where have Football Ventures gone? Does Bassini have the 25 million that he has promised? (Doubt it)

Do you think Bolton should have postponed the Doncaster match? I can see both sides of the argument but all I really care about now is that a takeover is completed as swiftly as possible so that Phil Parkinson and his excellent group of gifted young players can focus on getting the points needed to stay in League One.