Writer: Richard McCormick
Date:Tuesday January 22 2008
Bolton supporters are still undecided about whether the appointment of Gary Megson was a good idea. Most participants in a poll run on Vital Bolton hadn`t made their mind up about the Bolton manager. Initially there was much hostility to the 'Ginger Mourinho`, but attitudes softened after results appeared to improve. Now, after four defeats in the last six games, with the only win being a last gasp effort against bottom of the table Derby, doubts are once again being raised. That Wanderers fans are desperate for something to cheer is shown in the attitude to the result at Newcastle. A nil-nil draw to a side missing seven first teamers and who had lost four league games in a row culminating in a game in which they conceded six goals in 45 minutes, isn`t much of a cause for celebration, but that hasn`t stopped the Reebok faithful hailing it as a major triumph.
Megson has done some good things. The scouting network has been given a much needed over-haul and it`s pleasing to see that he doesn`t allow himself to be bullied by the media, in the way that Sammy Lee was. However, like Lee he appears able to identify problems with Bolton`s performances, without being able to rectify them. The defence is still soft and midfield lacks ideas. In addition he`s fallen into the Allardyce trap of sticking with his favourites no matter how they play, while fringe players are given only an occasional chance and are expected to shine immediately. As an exercise in man management, it isn`t good.
Much is being made of the January transfer window, especially now that Bolton, for once, have money to spend. Yet, with the exception of Portsmouth, a couple of seasons ago, signings made at this time rarely make a crucial difference.
Can the Wanderers survive? Even a betting man would save his money for a surer thing. Derby are doomed and things don`t look good for Fulham. Only two points separate the next six places. Sunderland, Wigan, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, all played well at the weekend, but only 'Boro secured a point (which would have been three had they taken any of their numerous chances.) Continue with those performances and that quartet have cause for optimism. Bolton meanwhile, have only their sterile hoof and hope game, which depends on set pieces and the opposition making a defensive mistake. It`s neither good to watch or effective. Megson, who came with a reputation for creating sides that play dour football, will have to do something different this time. The fans are right to hedge their bets.
Date:Tuesday January 22 2008
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