Championship previews | Bolton Wanderers
Real Championship football fans give the Paddy Power Blog their honest previews for the new season. A tag-team of Sam Duffy (@SamDuffy) and Chris Mann from Burnden Aces (@BurndenAces) give us their thoughts on Wanderers’ push for promotion and signing a proven goalscorer.
State of play: CM: After a poor first-half of the campaign, we went on an amazing home run and missed out on the play-off’s on goal difference. Maintaining that form this season is crucial, but we need to improve on last season’s woeful away form.
SD: Missing out on the play-offs last season on goal difference was gutting, but our form from Christmas shows that we can be at the top end of the table this season.
CM: We’ve lost Jay Spearing and Craig Dawson (both loans), as well as Marcos Alonso and the experienced Kevin Davies. Whether we can replace them remains to be seen, but we’re definitely weaker than at this stage last year.
How’s the gaffer? SD: Dougie Freedman has been excellent since he has come in. He’s given young players a chance and team play a better style of football too.
CM: Dougie Freedman has done a good job, so far. It took him a while to turn things around, but he managed to steady a sinking ship and almost achieved the unlikely as we narrowly missed out on the play-off’s last year. It’s clear to see he has long-term ambitions for the club, so hopefully he gets the chance to see them through.
Terrace hero: CM: It’s hard to look beyond Chris Eagles. He struggled in his debut season at the club, in the Premier League, but looked like a completely different player last year as we were back in the Championship.
Jay Spearing and Craig Dawson may still return, while Stuart Holden appears to have suffered another major injury blow. All three are match-winners on their day, but whether they’ll be our players remains to be seen.
SD: What we really missed last season was a goalscorer, hopefully either Jermain Beckford or Marvin Sordell can be the hero this year!
Big-time Charlie: CM: The majority of Bolton fans would go with names such as Tyrone Mears, Keith Andrews, Zat Knight and Adam Bogdan.
If I had to pick one, it would be Knight. He’s the favourite to take over the captaincy this season and is capable of producing some solid performances at this level, but you’re always waiting for him to make that one mistake that will cost us a goal.
SD: Since signing from Liverpool, David N’Gog hasn’t impressed either. He’s given little back from the big transfer fee paid, but hopefully he can produce the goods with a solid run in the side.
Worst away ground in the Championship and why? SD: Either Blackburn or Burnley. There’s a poor atmosphere but, let’s be honest, you wouldn’t expect a Bolton fan to say anything to say anything else!
CM: It’s a close call between Burnley and Leeds, but I’m going to go with Turf Moor. This weekend marks the 125th anniversary of the inaugural Football League season, and the away section of that stadium doesn’t look like it’s been maintained since the late 1800s.
Which Championship side have the best away fans? CM: Nottingham Forest and Leeds United both brought strong followings to the Reebok last season, but I’m going to say Sheffield Wednesday.
They may have been out of the top-flight for a while, but they’re still a well supported club and get behind their team in numbers.
SD: Leeds always bring loads of fans away and are guaranteed to be very loud! Their away support is definitely better than the football they play anyway.
Who is your dream Championship signing? SD: A proven striker like Jordan Rhodes.
CM: We’ve been linked with a move for Blackburn’s Jordan Rhodes but whether we can sign our nearest rivals’ best asset is a different story. Rhodes has the ability to help a club to promotion and a goalscorer is something we desperately need.
What is your best terrace chant? CM: ‘Walking down the Manny Road, to see the Burnden Aces!’
SD: ‘Fabrice Muamba…Fabrice Muamba’
- Is this their year? Bolton are 9/1 to win the Championship here
- Take a look at the next Championship team over this way