Bolton Wanderers: Mostly A Rant About Pratley
There's been a lot of talk about last night's result, but I can sum up how it made me feel in three words: bored but pleased. For my extended opinion, please continue to read beyond this sentence.
We managed to draw against one of the more consistent performers in our league just three days after beating the top of the pile, keeping one clean sheet and only conceding one goal in two games in the process. How are we not satisfied after that?
I firmly believe that we would have got nothing out of either game had Owen Coyle still been in charge. We certainly would have conceded more, as the defence has radically improved throughout Jimmy's temporary tenure and the start of Dougie's reign. Zat Knight is playing as well as he did in late 2010, which is something I thought would never happen again. Mark Davies has also finally started to shine and look somewhat like the player that he has to the people outside of the Bolton bubble.
So there are the positives. And they are big positives. But, and this isn't a huge criticism of the marvellous job I think our new manager is doing, last night was so boring. It was dark and freezing and I had waited all day for the buzz of a football game. Well, you can't play scintillating stuff every week, and what we did worked a treat.
I do, however, have a little proper piece of criticism. It should not take Dougie Freedman much longer to realise that Darren Pratley contributes absolutely nothing to our game. There are not many footballers that I have seen play for the club that are worse than Dazza Prazza (as Quentin would say but I'm not sure I am legally allowed to). Maybe Ariza Makakula, Mr Rasiak, and Monsieur Cid.
People can argue all they want about how hard he works for the team. Like that even matters. If I was playing for the club, I'm certain they wouldn't be saying that, even if I was running through brick walls and wishing I hadn't been to Greggs for lunch. They would talk about how I attacked, how I defended, and all the bits in between.
Pratley couldn't get onto many of SKD's flick ons, of which there was plenty. He never made the sort of attacking presence you would hope for from a man in his position behind the striker, and didn't remotely look like creating a chance for his teammates. He didn't win headers, couldn't control the ball quickly, and couldn't pass accurately or with any sort of conviction. He was regularly outmuscled in the middle of the park, and often went clumsily into challenges. This earned him a yellow card and I was very surprised when he didn't get a second.
When Petrov came on for him on Saturday, and Eagles moved centrally, it opened up our attacking play and allowed us to win the game. So when Dazza remained on the pitch when the Bulgarian was ready to come on last night, I was thoroughly confused. I really hope that Dougie has now seen enough of the man to decide that his best position is on the transfer list. I fear not, but have faith in our manager to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the club.
Right, rant about Pratley over, please feel free to type the backlash below!