Having just finished watching what can only be described as an abysmal display by Bolton against Blackburn my confidence in survival has been rocked somewhat.
The Wanderers were toothless in front of goal, at least until the introduction of Ivan Klasnic, and never looked as if they were going to get anything out of the game. Credit to Blackburn, but Bolton made it too easy for them and it is fair to say that Owen Coyle’s tenure hasn’t begun particularly well.
There have been some plus points, Vladimir Weiss and Jack Wilshere have looked fairly dangerous whenever they’ve been given time on the pitch but young players on loan should not be relied on and a couple of the more senior players need to stand up and be counted.
Losing Gary Cahill was a massive blow as he is, without question, Bolton’s best player – let alone defender. I’ve never rated Zat Knight and now he plays for Bolton and I’ve seen even more of him I’m still not impressed. He has all the tools – but he just doesn’t concentrate and he made a number of errors that could have proved costly against the Rovers. Without Cahill to lead the defence Bolton look very vulnerable and his absence has really been noticed.
On a positive note, aside from the display against Blackburn, performances have improved and on a couple of occasions since Coyle took charge I feel Bolton have been unlucky. The Whites went down 2-0 at Manchester City but the performance was decent and we were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when it was 1-0, before Emmanuel Adebayor stepped up and produced a moment of sheer brilliance.
The next four league games are absolutely vital. Bolton face fellow strugglers Wolves, West Ham, Sunderland and Wigan in which they really need to pick up the points. If the club are still in the bottom three after those four games it could turn into a disaster as Everton, Manchester United Aston Villa and Chelsea are the four games after those – and the way Bolton are playing at the moment it seems unlikely they’ll see a great return from those games.
I’m still (perhaps foolishly) confident of survival, but if results don’t improve soon (or immediately) it could be a very painful end to the season.