After a shaky start to his Wanderers career, Ricardo Santos followed up his encouraging performance against Harrogate Town with another solid performance at home against Grimsby. Santos seems to have benefitted from moving into the central position of the back three. Santos size allows him to be a dominating presence in the air but there were times in Saturday’s game where we were able to see his stand-up/one on one defending attributes and he came out on top. I’m pleased to see the strength in character from the Portuguese defender and hope he continues to build.
It would be remiss to not also mention the two other members of Bolton’s back three as Wanderers secured their first clean sheet of the season, something that seemed a long way away not too long ago. Harry Brockbank and Ryan Delaney did not put a foot wrong defensively, and whilst Wanderers missed the probing runs from defence of George Taft, it is a small price to pay to secure a clean sheet. Whilst it was a quieter game for him, it is also pleasing for Billy Crellin to bag his first clean sheet. Again, what we all want to see now is Wanderers building on this and adding more solid defensive performances to this and the Harrogate game. The injury of Gethin Jones has provided Harry Brockbank with the biggest opportunity of his career so far, it will be interesting to see how he reacts.
I think the general consensus among Wanderers fans was that the man of the match was midfielder Andrew Tutte, who is now beginning to find his fitness and rhythm after not having the benefit of a full preseason. What I like about Tutte is that he locks up a huge section on the pitch which should allow the more attacking players in the Wanderers side to take up positions where they can be effective in confidence they will get the ball there. He also is always available to receive the ball from Bolton’s defenders, which I think is playing a big part in their resurgence as they are remaining in position, making us much harder to counter against.