Weblog: The football punter
Downtrodden Trotters can make their point
It has been an unpleasant few months for Bolton who were on the brink of liquidation and had their 145-year history hanging in the balance but the Trotters can give their supporters something to cheer with a point at home to Blackpool in Sky Bet League One.
Bolton escaped expulsion from the English Football League but there is still work to be done in their battle to avoid the drop from the third tier.
The EFL docked Wanderers 12 points for entering administration at the start of the campaign and Bolton have managed just three draws from their opening nine games, leaving them 18 points adrift of safety.
However, in their first five matches, in which they failed to score, they were forced to field an inexperienced side consisting largely of U23 squad members.
Since adding more steel and experience to their ranks, though, they have improved markedly. They earned home draws against Oxford and Sunderland and manager Keith Hill has enough quality at his disposal to start picking up positive results on a more regular basis.
Daryl Murphy, Liam Bridcutt, Jack Hobbs, Will Buckley and Jason Lowe – five players boasting Premier League experience – still have plenty to offer and are more than capable at this level.
Hill added further depth to his squad by recruiting Thibaud Verlinden, Jake Wright, Josh Earl and James Weir from the Sky Bet Championship while striker Joseph Dodoo, who was on loan at Blackpool last season, has been snapped up from Scottish giants Rangers.
Bolton highlighted their improvement in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Portsmouth, where they enjoyed 54 per cent possession and won the shot count 11-10, and another step forward should see them compete well against a Blackpool side stuttering on their travels.
Simon Grayson’s Tangerines are rightly favourites given that they sit fifth in the table and are unbeaten in three league matches.
However, Blackpool have drawn three of their six away games at Gillingham, Rochdale and Accrington, who sit 15th, 19th and 18th respectively, so odds-on quotes about an away win are not justified.
Wanderers are far more solid than they were earlier in the season and, having drawn three of their four home league games this term, they look good value for a point.