It’s he first 6 pointer of the season for Brentford – and it’s only September – as the Bees travel to Bolton to try and break their no wins sequence this season. Billy Grant caught up with Chris Mann from @BurndenAces to get the lowdown on win-less Bolton.
Bolton Are Back in the Championship. You left the division with a huge financial anchor chained to your leg. Can you briefly tell us what’s happened since.
Our relegation in 2016 was confirmed just weeks after the club came within minutes of going out of business. We had no manager, no money and, seemingly, no hope.
Phil Parkinson took on the difficult task of steadying the ship and achieved something we all wanted but few expected – promotion at the first time of asking.
He managed that despite a boardroom tussle between co-owners Ken Anderson and Dean Holdsworth, although our ongoing financial struggles are now more obvious to see having returned to a second-tier packed with teams happy to splash the cash.
Holdsworth recently forfeited his share in the club after his parent company defaulted on a loan, with Anderson subsequently taking them for himself after reaching an agreement with liquidators. The transfer embargo has also gone, but that doesn’t mean money will suddenly become available.
We’re on a long road to recovery and we’ll get there in the end, but we may have to take a step backwards before we can take another two forwards.
We’ve both had rather dodgy starts to the season. We’re playing brilliantly but can’t score or give away silly goals. Where is it going wrong for Bolton?
Given the aforementioned financial struggle, we were always going to have problems attracting the quality required to compete in the Championship.
Parkinson has done extremely well to bring in the likes of Sammy Ameobi, Adam Le Fondre, Will Buckley and Craig Noone on free transfers, but, as we have already experienced, injuries to just a handful of players suddenly leaves the squad looking short.
Ameobi has yet to feature after undergoing knee surgery in the week leading up to the first game, while academy graduate Josh Vela has been out since injuring his ankle on opening weekend.
Worryingly, and in complete contrast to Brentford, we are not playing well. If you concede twice – even three times – before half-time on a regular basis, you don’t stand a chance. There are big problems!
Eight games. No wins. And no goals in open play. Is it looking bleak for Bolton?
Adding to my closing sentence in the previous question – yes, it is looking bleak.
We’ve been in this position before – last season aside we’ve started very poorly for the last half-dozen seasons – but we have rarely found ourselves in a situation were we are being hammered on a regular basis.
Whilst it may have been in League One, we had the best defensive record in the EFL last season but all that seems to have gone out of the window, and we haven’t been able to find a combination that works up front.
I don’t like writing teams off at such an early stage but if Bolton are to survive this season, they need to improve and quickly!
Are there any Bolton players who looks like shining lights who need a bit of luck and a bit of direction?
Sammy Ameobi blew hot and cold during a loan spell with us last season, but when on form was unplayable.
He signed permanently in the summer but, as mentioned earlier, has yet to play due to injury, although could be back in time for our weekend clash.
It’ll probably take him a while to get up to speed, but Ameobi has the potential to offer us something a little different, while the return of Josh Vela, likely to be another few weeks away, should add some much-needed bite to our toothless midfield.
How do you think you will pick yourselves up? It’s a long season.
There are still 38 games to go. There’s plenty of time but the longer such a run goes on, the harder things become.
Sure, we may only have two points from eight games, but a couple of good results this coming week could see us move out of the bottom three.
That may be one for the optimists, but also true. Whether it’s a moment of quality or the ball finding the net via the referee’s backside, who cares? One win can work wonders for confidence – let’s just hope it arrives sooner rather than later.
How will Saturday’s match pan out?
I see this being somewhat of a cagey affair. Two winless sides both languishing in the bottom three means this, in my unqualified opinion, will likely end in a bog-standard 1-1 draw.
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