BWFC February Preview: Things Can Only Get Better

  • February 01, 2014 | By Sean McNeilly
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Bolton begin February placed 18th in the Championship, ahead of a busy month that sees the campaign reach the 30 game mark.

January, the first month of the new year, was tough. Tough due to the extra turkey and chocolate on the love handles, tough because the 25th of the month consisted of no presents at all, tough because the weather was wetter than an otter's foot. But mainly it was tough due to Bolton taking to the field each week and not knowing what was going to go wrong next.

One win, albeit in the FA Cup, three losses and two league points were all January could offer on the pitch. Off it, more news of rising debts and the loss of David Ngog went hand-in-hand with angry fans calling for someone to blame.

February doesn't start easy either. The first day of the month will see Bolton travel to Ipswich Town. Two home matches follow, against Bournemouth and Burnley, on the 8th and 11th respectively. Then, a trip to London to face Milwall, on the 15th, is followed by Watford visiting the Reebok to round out the month on the 22nd.

Mick McCarthy has turned Ipswich into real play-off contenders. The Irishman took over the club in December 2012 at a time they were, at best, a solid mid-table team. Now, the Tractor Boys are a formidable side in the Championship and could yet find themselves in the mixer come May, meaning that they will be doing all they can to get another three points when the Whites visit their home on the first day of February. A big reason for the success is David McGoldrick. A successful loan spell last term was turned permanent deal in the summer and the hitman has 11 league goals to his name already. For Bolton's 2014 misery not to continue at Portman Road, a huge performance will be needed.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
7 Ipswich Town 28 10 10 8 40 32 40 8
18 Bolton Wanderers 27 6 10 11 32 44 28 -12

One to Watch: David McGoldrick
Last Season: Ipswich Town 1-0 Bolton Wanderers (Edwards)


South-coast club Bournemouth hit the road for the first game at the Reebok in February - on the 8th. Eddie Howe will be more than satisfied at the Cherries' first pop at the Championship, as they look highly likely to be staying in this division. Howe has built his success mostly around players who were with him in the lower leagues and his faith looks to have paid off so far. Lewis Grabban has been fantastic in front of goal, with 12 strikes so far, but it is the recent return of Matt Ritchie that must be pleasing the Bouremouth faithful. Last season's League One Player of the Year - and League Two Player of the Year before that - missed the first part of the season, but has returned with some serious form. All this being said, surely Bolton will be expecting a win here. I see this game as the opportunity to attempt and turnaround the season. I'm not expecting miracles, but do hope for some smiles before the summer.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
14 Bournemouth 27 9 7 11 34 46 34 -12
18 Bolton Wanderers 23 6 8 9 27 32 26 -5

One to Watch: Matt Ritchie


Sean Dyche's Burnley have been the surprise package of the season so far. They come to the Reebok for the latest instalment of this derby as one of the automatic promotion contenders. Not many would have predicted that at the beginning of the season. Dyche can take a lot of credit for what's been going on at Turf Moor this season, but a huge debt of gratitude must be given to strike partners Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, who have 27 league goals between them. Bolton will be facing a tough test at the Reebok in this game, but a local derby in front of home fans means anything could happen.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
3 Burnley 27 14 10 3 39 20 52 19
18 Bolton Wanderers 23 6 8 9 27 32 26 -5

One to Watch: Danny Ings
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Burnley (C Davies, Ngog; Edgar)


A trip to The Den will be next up for the Trotters, to face Ian Holloway's Milwall. At the time of writing, this is looking like a six-pointer at the foot of the table. It's a very real possibility it could have even more significance come kick-off time. Holloway has taken on a tough task after leaving another tough job at Crystal Palace earlier in the season. There have not many highs so far for the London club, though there is some quality in his squad. We saw some of the quality this season with Liam Feeney, while Scott McDonald can also be solid on his day. The acquisition of DJ Campbell may also prove to be a shrewd piece of business. Let's call a spade a spade here though - if Bolton leave London without any points, it would be a disappointment.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
18 Bolton Wanderers 23 6 8 9 27 32 26 -5
21 Millwall 27 6 8 13 28 51 26 -23

One to Watch: DJ Campbell
Last Season: Millwall 2-1 Bolton Wanderers (Henderson 2; Eagles)


The month finishes off with the visit of Watford to the Reebok. New Hornets boss Giuseppe Sannino almost saw his troops pull off a huge Cupset at the Etihad at the end of January, but now, like Bolton, only has a dismal Championship campaign to finish off. Lewis McGugan and last seasons play-off semi-final hero Troy Deeney have been two of their better performers, but it's not been a great campaign so far. Dougie will be hoping February will finish on a high and, as a supporter, I'd suggest we deserve it.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
16 Watford 26 7 10 9 38 35 31 3
18 Bolton Wanderers 23 6 8 9 27 32 26 -5

One to Watch: Lewis McGugan
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Watford (Mills, K Davies; Doyley)


As Professor Brian Cox and colleagues once said; Things Can Only Get Better. This is something that we should all be saying, and singing, as we approach another tough month. As I've mentioned, I'm targeting Bouremouth at home as a turnaround match, but won't be complaining if three points at Ipswich get us going either. I'd say three wins from the month would be a success, anything else a Brucey Bonus.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
View Full Standings >>


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