A Season In Defence
Here I'll be looking at an area that has troubled Wanderers fans for many a season - The Defence.
Over the years this position has been, let's say, interesting. We've had players like Gary Cahill - England international, model professional and good on the ball, and we've had players like Nicky Hunt. Here's how I think our defenders have fared this season:
Started the season as one of our better players, also scoring goals that helped get us through Jermaine Beckford Goalless months, early on. He's played for much of his career as a centre back, but on looking at him I'd say he's more suited to playing as a full back. He's quick enough and is actually pretty good on the ball. However, his last few appearances have really marred what looked like a decent season. He's looked particularly worrying at left back, and has given away God knows how many penalties.
After a Summer of uncertainty and speculation our bearded friend has responded admirably. Initially out of the side, he marked his intent with a whopper of a penalty against Tranmere. He played well in matches afterwards, being strong in the air, a good leader and decent on the ball are all traits needed by Championship defenders and he's been pretty solid. He's got good experience at this level, and has put it to good use this year.
Big Dave's worked hard to get back to fitness this season after missing much of the previous campaign through injury. Played well alongside Ream and Mills, dominating in the air and putting his body on the line for his club. Maybe a little clumsy at times, but this has been a decent season for the former Middlesbrough man.
Voted our player of the season, after a similar experience to that of Matt Mills during the Summer Transfer window. The American found himself playing at centre back, left back and as a holding midfielder. He has said he feels most comfortable at the heart of the defence but has done well covering for injured Marc Tierney. Ream also suffered a facial injury back in January, but to his credit has played on until the end of the season.
Oh, where do I begin with Zat Knight. We paid £5 million for him several seasons ago. We shouldn't have. He made several AWFUL mistakes. He shouldn't have. However he works very hard and no player tries to make mistakes, or tries to be bad. I think the reason he's become so unpopular with fans is, no matter how hard you try to support a player like him, when you look back on what they've done for the club those mistakes glare right at you. This season he's made characteristic errors which have frustrated the whole of Bolton, however lest we forget the effort he's put in, and his professionalism this season as club captain. He's certainly shown signs of improvement this season. Shame it's a bit late as he's 34 and out of contract.
Looked decent but played very few games due to injury.
Injury, held him back again this season.
Played twice, looked shaky at times, but there is potential there.
Started twice, looked solid enough at the back and talented going forward.
Didn't feature, rejected loan moves, released.
Spent the season out on loan, didn't feature as much as he'd hope.
Written by Nicky Crompton.
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