This week, all the writers here at LOV are going to try and predict how the season will go for Bolton.
Next to put his card on the table is our podcast editor James.
We’ve got quite a few to choose from haven’t we? Some we know pretty much nothing about but have seemingly endless potential like Liam Gordon and Billy Crellin. Others are proven commodities at this level like Eoin Doyle and George Taft. Ultimately though, I don’t think you can look past the newly christened captain, Antoni Sarcevic. The former Plymouth man took the chance to return to L2 football after a wonderful campaign with the Green Army and looks to be rewarded for his enthusiasm. Moving back up North to his beloved Manchester and instantly winning up fans by being honestly vocal about how blown away he is by joining us, it seems inevitable that his eagerness to succeed here will translate onto the pitch. They do say players play better when they are settled. If you consider that he was a promotion sides POTY last season, what kind of beast could we see this season? I’m excited at that prospect.
You’d be mad not to say Doyle. I know Delfouneso has had quite a purple patch in pre-season but goal scoring is Doyle’s entire bread and butter. Barring injury, I’ll put my neck out and say that he’ll easily get 20+ for this campaign, possibly 25+.
Game I’m most looking forward to:
I feel like picking derby games is too easy. We’d obviously love to smash up our potential promotion rivals Salford and Tranmere. Plus wins against other local(ish) teams like Oldham, Morecambe and Harrogate wouldn’t go amiss. Me personally though, I’m excited to see what happens when Evatt returns to his old stomping grounds this season. What kind of side will we be by the time we head up there mid-October? Will we have gelled as a team? How will Barrow recover from losing Evatt and replacing him with mixed bag David Dunn? I’ve seen too many times managers return to their old clubs and come up short and I’d love to see Evatt differ from the norm this season.
Opposing player I’d love:
I don’t really know to many of the players at this level admittedly. It’s going to be a learning experience for the year. However, I do know that Stephen Humphreys, despite being part of undoubtedly the worst team in L1 last season (which is saying something considering how we played post Accrington), was a joy to watch, even if he was tearing our defence apart. I’m shocked that he’s still there but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him gone before the end of the window. If he sticks around though, then he will be the difference maker for a poor Southend side and I’d love him at our club, especially considering how thin we are up front as of this time of writing.
Evatt’s formation can hinge on it’s wing-backs ability to get up and down the pitch yet I feel we’ve stocked ourselves excellently with the 4 additions we’ve got for it. In my mind, Gordon, Jones, Hickman and Mascoll are all very capable wing backs and it’s nice to see serious competition in these positions. However, for me the key player has to be Brandon Comley. If you player a possession based passing style, you need players who know how to accurately pass the ball and effectively and everything points to Comley being that unsung hero. He’ll essentially be the pivot of our team and it’ll be on him to not only be the calming influence to help keep the ball and give the chance to push the rest of the attackers forward but he’ll also have to be the big bully in midfield to win the ball back or pressure opposition before things can get worrying for our defence.
Predict the first 6 games:
Forest Green (H) - 2-1
Colchester (A) - 2-0
Newport (H) - 2-0
Harrogate (A) - 0-3
Grismby (H) - 1-1
Oldham (H) - 4-0
To sum it up 13 points from our first 6 putting us somewhere in the Top 3.
I’ve every faith we’ll finish 1st. This decade may have started off very strange and what would be stranger than watching Bolton lifting some genuine silverware. I can understand the cautiousness from some fans that this project may take time and that this league won’t be easy. All valid stances. Nevertheless, I say that you should let yourself get caught up in the optimism and aim for the stars at this moment in time. Why not chuck a good cup run in there? As a bonus, I’ll say that we’ll make finals of the EFL Trophy. Is it tinpot trophy and I’m getting carried way? Yes and probably but it’s been a long time since I’ve been properly optimistic as a Bolton fan so let me have this for now.
Any other business prediction?:
I’ve been very positive this piece so I’ll round it off with a negative prediction and hope that jinxes it into not happening. Bolton’s iFollow stream for the Bradford cup match will be marred with technical issues and we’ll miss a goal because of it.