BWFC September Preview: Puppy Training Commences

  • September 12, 2014 | By Sean McNeilly
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Bolton begin a hectic September schedule on Saturday, with Sheffield Wednesday's visit to Macron Stadium starting a run of five games in 14 days.

Ouch! The first month of the season is over, and boy was it a painful one.

If I just take a look at the football from August, it makes for pretty miserable reading. With one point from the opening five games, we find ourselves in the bottom three and deservedly so. Scraping through against lower league opposition in the League Cup has only served as a temporary distraction, while any hopes of a push for promotion are already making way for dark, terrifying thoughts. It's even been rumoured that Dougie Freedman has bought the whole squad puppies during the international break, just to get the lads used to holding onto leads. You can keep that one!

Away from the football, we've had some nonsense haven't we. Ibizagate and Jermaine Beckford's wave have been met with a lot of unneeded fury, while the constant calls for Freedman and/or Phil Gartside to be sent to the stocks have persisted.

And if that wasn't bad enough, here comes September...

Three out of the four games this month are at the Macron. Whether or not this is a positive, I couldn't really say. First up are Sheffield Wednesday, on September 13, followed shortly thereafter by newly-promoted Rotherham United, under the lights, three days later. The only Championship away day of the month is a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers on September 20 and, after a midweek trip to Stamford Bridge in the League Cup, Schteve 'Smoke and a Pancake' McLaren's Derby County make their way to Bolton.

First up then; Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls have started their campaign brightly after losing only one of their opening five matches. Two impressive wins away from home at Brighton & Hove Albion and Middlesbrough, respectively, will not make good reading for Wanderers fans hoping for a bright start to the month. A couple of shrewd summer signings are proving to be a success at the back; namely goalkeeper Kieran Westwood and defender Tom Lees, while taking a punt on Stevie May from Scotland may be a move that reaps great rewards. Though it's front-man Atdhe Nuhiu who could be the man to be most concerned about, especially after his two-goal haul in Wednesday's latest away day at Midlesbrough. Behind the scenes, there remains uncertainty at Hillsborough. At the time of writing, a deal for new owners to take over the club has fallen through and Milan Manderic's attempts to sell the club have to start from scratch. Is it wrong to hope the issues behind the scenes issues spill over onto the pitch?

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
10 Sheffield Wednesday 5 2 2 1 5 4 8 1
22 Bolton Wanderers 5 0 1 4 4 10 1 -6

One To Watch: Atdhe Nuhiu
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Beckford; Baptiste(og))


Steve Evans' Rotherham United make the trip to the Macron for the first of two matches in-a-row against teams promoted from League One. A tough campaign was predicted for the Millers, but things have started steadily enough. Two wins from the first five is a mid-table start and not much else, but there are plenty of teams who would give their left arm for that kind of start. A number of new faces came in during the close season, but it's the deadline day loan signing of Luciano Becchio that could prove to be the difference between staying up and going down. Becchio is a proven goalscorer at this level, and seeing him sign up at the New York Stadium left me feeling gutted that we didn't put in an effort, or enough of one, to snap him up. Saying all this, we have to fancy ourselves at home here. Anything but a win could spell trouble for Dougie.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
11 Bournemouth 5 2 1 2 9 6 7 3
22 Bolton Wanderers 5 0 1 4 4 10 1 -6

One To Watch: Luciano Becchio


A trip down the M6 to face Wolves is the only Championship trip the Whites will have to make this month. The Wanderers of Wolverhampton have been somewhat the surprise package this season, with Kenny Jackett picking up the Manager of the Month award for August after four wins from their opening five games, including three wins against the three teams relegated from the Premier League last season. A very restricted summer meant there was a lot more outs than ins at Molineux, but last season's winning mentality seems to be sticking around. Goals get you everywhere at this level, but Wolves are showing that clean sheets will also do a good job. With three 1-0 victories already, likes of Richard Stearman and Scott Dolbourne are ensuring talented keeper Carl Ikeme is kept as quiet as possible. Wolves' attacking threats are mainly coming from two superb talents; Bakary Sako and Nouha Dicko. Sako, himself, has three goals to his name already which, being predominantly a midfielder, is an impressive start to say the least. A tough trip is in order and we could do with Johan (Elmander)'s nimble footwork for this trip again.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 5 4 0 1 6 2 12 4
22 Bolton Wanderers 5 0 1 4 4 10 1 -6

One To Watch: Bakary Sako


The visit of Derby County will round off September. The Rams were one of the pre-season favourites to gain promotion this season and have started steadily enough to justify that tag at the time of writing. Currently sitting just outside the play-offs, McClaren's side have only lost one of their opening five matches, including a 5-1 rout of Fulham. The one-time 'Wally With a Brolly' has managed to keep the majority of the play-off finalist squad with him while adding real quality to his ranks. This quality includes, of course, Jordon Ibe from Liverpool. I was reliably informed by a Liverpool supporting friend that we had a 'done deal' to loan Ibe a couple of weeks ago - it's safe to say we aren't friends anymore. It doesn't stop with Ibe though and I'd take anything from this game the way things are.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
7 Derby County 5 2 2 1 9 5 8 4
22 Bolton Wanderers 5 0 1 4 4 10 1 -6

One To Watch: Jordon Ibe
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Derby County (Eagles, Baptiste; Russell 2)


What to expect? Well, anything. I'd like to think starting with two home wins is a minimum, then picking up anything from the next two is a bonus. Is that too much to ask? Too little? All I can say is that come kick-off in each and every one of these games I will be 100% behind everyone lucky enough to be wearing the Bolton Wanderers kit, and hope all our fans follow suit.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
6 Cambridge United 3 6
7 Derby County 3 6
8 Bolton Wanderers 3 5
9 Portsmouth 3 5
10 Accrington Stanley 3 5
View Full Standings >>


Who is Bolton's 2021/22 Player of the Year?
32.58% Oladapo Afolayan
30.96% Gethin Jones
21.72% Ricardo Almeida Santos
5.51% Declan John
4.05% Kieran Lee
3.08% MJ Williams
1.78% Joel Dixon
0.32% George Johnston