BWFC October Preview: It's Going To Be a Long Road, Guys

  • September 30, 2014 | By Sean McNeilly
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/68632

The second month of the season is over and the story is still not looking any brighter as we turn into the darker months.

Sitting in the relegation zone nine games in is not what was on the agenda this term and much hard work is ahead.

A bright start to September brought four points from a possible six.

'This is it', I thought, naively. 'We're going to be okay', I would proudly say in my head.

Then, two successive losses without a goal, albeit against two tough opponents, brought me back to earth. A spirited performance at Stamford Bridge did its best to hide reality, but it was short lived.

It's going to be a long road, guys.

The month of October sees the Whites take to the field six times in the Championship, starting with a trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham. A home match against Bournemouth follows three days later, before the international break kicks in. Wanderers face three matches in seven days once they return to action - the first two of which are trips to Birmingham City and Charlton Athletic, respectively, before new-boys Brentford visit Macron Stadium - before the month comes to an end with a trip to Norwich City.

A relegation six-pointer gets us underway this month, with a trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham. Acclimatising to life outside the Premier League is proving tough for the Cottagers (preaching to the choir, I know) and Felix Magath has lost his job due to the trouble faced. While it's true they have been struggling, this squad is littered with talent - expensive talent at that. A turnaround in fortunes cannot be far away, especially considering they picked up their first win of the season at Birmigham on Saturday, gulp. Ross McCormack was the obvious glamour signing, and he's slowly paying part of his massive fee back to the club with three goals so far. While Scott Parker may be getting on, he can still run the show at this level. But it's German midfielder come full-back Tim Hoogland who has been the stand out performer so far. Three goals already from the new signing and some stand out performances prove Magath did something right in his short time in London. A very difficult match for Wanderers here - personally I'd take a point and run if I could.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
22 Bolton Wanderers 9 1 2 6 7 15 5 -8
23 Fulham 9 1 1 7 8 20 4 -12

One To Watch: Tim Hoogland

 

Bournemouth are turning themselves into a quality Championship side. Eddie Howe, in his second spell at the south coast club, has moulded this team in the last few years into a very formidable opposition for any club at this level. Whether they will be in the top-six mix (patent pending) come May is another question. The Cherries are so far proving to be better on their travels. For example, they were unable to beat Leeds United or Rotherham United at home, but went undefeated against Norwich City and Watford away. So, another tough one to call for Dougie and the lads. Callum Wilson and Yann Kermorgant are a strikeforce that the back-four will need to keep a very close eye on, while Matt Ritchie and Harry Arter will be pulling the strings in the middle. There is talent across this team.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
14 Bournemouth 9 3 3 3 14 11 12 3
22 Bolton Wanderers 9 1 2 6 7 15 5 -8

One To Watch: Callum Wilson
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Bournemouth (Chung-Yong, Jutkiewicz; Grabban, Francis)

 

Birmingham fans, like ourselves, are not too delighted with where their team is at this moment in time. Lee Clark is not finding his third season any easier than the first two, as another struggling campaign seems to be ahead for the Blues. The signing of David Cotterill from Doncaster Rovers has been one of the brighter points, and Clark will be looking to him and the likes of Wes Thomas and Clayton Donaldson for some inspiration. Another lower league battle ahead for us then, but I would certainly fancy our chances here if we turn up. Some good recent memories of St Andrews linger for Bolton, let's hope more are made.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
21 Birmingham City 9 1 4 4 8 16 7 -8
22 Bolton Wanderers 9 1 2 6 7 15 5 -8

One To Watch: David Cotterill
Last Season: Birmingham City 1-2 Bolton Wanderers (Novak; Beckford, Danns)

 

Charlton have been performing above pre-season expectations so far and, at the time of writing, find themselves only one point outside the play-off places. They are also unbeaten after their first nine games, a feat only matched by Nottingham Forest. Belgian Bob Peeters is thriving in his first job outside of his homeland. Ex-Wanderer Tal Ben Haim has been rolling back the years so far, while ex-Wanderers target Johnnie Jackson has been a constant performer at this level since he arrived in it. But it's summer signing Igor Vertokele who is my one to watch, and it's not a hard pick after scoring five goals already in the Championship. Bolton will have to be on their game here and hope Charlton are not.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
8 Charlton Athletic 9 3 6 0 12 9 15 3
22 Bolton Wanderers 9 1 2 6 7 15 5 -8

One To Watch: Igor Vertokele
Last Season: Charlton Athletic 0-0 Bolton Wanderers

 

Brentford were big favourites to go straight back to League One following their promotion last season, but so far have settled into the Championship with a great deal of comfort. With a squad full of unfamiliars, the Bees have notched up some great performances with results to match, including wins against Leeds United and Brighton & Hove Albion to boast about. Manager Mark Warburton is relying on a strong squad atmosphere to keep his troops at this level and, so far, with nine different league goalscorers, this is proving to work. Top performers to look out for include midfielder Alan Judge and forward Andre Gray, while journeyman Tommy Smith adds quality experience to a youthful squad. Let's call a spade a spade here though, the lads will be aiming for three points here and rightly so.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
12 Brentford 9 4 2 3 11 13 14 -2
22 Bolton Wanderers 9 1 2 6 7 15 5 -8

One To Watch: Andre Gray

 

A change in the fixture list means a change of Trick or Treat plans, as the month is rounded off with a trip to Carrow Road to face Norwich City. The change means that this will be the Whites' first match of the season live in front of the television cameras.  For the lads to have any hopes in this match they will need to be in top form to say the least, as Norwich have ended September top of the pile.  After losing their opening game of the season, Neil Adams' men have gone unbeaten; winning six from eight in the league. Planning ahead last season, combined with superb summer business, puts Norwich in prime position to go straight back to the Premier League. This squad is full of class. They possess the league's second top scorer in Lewis Grabban, the overly exciting Nathan Redmond and the apparent Championship goal machine Cameron Jerome (5 in 5) to name but a few.  A tough night is on the cards and, to add insult to injury, the kids in my neighbourhood love a good egging at Halloween.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
1 Norwich City 9 6 2 1 20 8 20 12
22 Bolton Wanderers 9 1 2 6 7 15 5 -8

One To Watch: Nathan Redmond

 

So a few six-pointers are about this month. It feels wrong typing those two words; six pointers. Especially so early into the campaign. After a couple of seasons at this level, I would have hoped we wouldn't be in this predicament - in fact I would have hoped for something much better. But football rarely gives you what you want all the time. In this league, though, things can turn around quickly and a solid October could see some much needed positivity return for us all.

Football betting site Betway

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 18 16
20 Tranmere Rovers 17 16
21 Milton Keynes Dons 18 13
22 Southend United 19 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 15 1
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone