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I Wander how long it will last
Bolton Wanderers F.C.
Member Name: Carrow Road Canary
Bolton Wanderers F.C.
Date: 08/09/01, updated on 08/09/01 (55 review reads)
Advantages: Good manager
Disadvantages: Not big enough squad
Bolton have gone into the 2001-2002 season as massive relegation favourites after winning promotion via the play-offs. This is the third time they have been in the Premiership since 1995, but on each of the previous occasions they lasted just one year in the top flight.
But after three games of the new season, Bolton top the table with 9 points, including an impressive victory against star-studded Liverpool. So can Bolton Wanderers defy the critics and ‘do an Ipswich’ or will they fade away.
Sam Allardyce – Allardyce is certainly not a manager coming into the Premiership with a huge reputation, but that is certainly not because of any lack of ability – he led them to the play-offs in 1999 and 2000, before winning promotion last time round. He has a 10 year contract with the Lancashire club and has already made his mark in the Premiership winning ‘Manager of the Month’ for August. It may not be too long before Sam Allardyce is approached by a bigger club.
Jussi Jaaskelainen played an important role in Bolton’s promotion last year and was one of the best keepers outside the Premiership. Jaaskelainen may be no Peter Schmeichel or Fabien Barthez but he is easily capable of doing a good job this season – if Allardyce decides to strengthen his squad this season, it is unlikely that a new goalkeeper will be near the top of his shopping list.
In Colin Hendry, Paul Warhurst and Gudni Bergsson Bolton have three very experienced defenders who were the base on which Bolton’s promotion was won last year. Hendry is still one of the best defenders in England, and it is unlikely that he will perform with anything other than his usual solidarity. A lot depends on how well Warhurst and Bergsson can make the step up to the Premiership. The capable Simon Charlton and Andy Barness are also in the squad.
Bolton have an average strength midfield – on their day they can be very good but they are not going to consistently put in outstanding performances.
Youngster Kevin Nolan has already grabbed the headlines, scoring twice on the opening day, in Bolton’s 5-0 thrashing of Leicester on the opening day, and is very highly rated by people in the know at Bolton. Bo Hansen and Per Frandsen are typical efficient, hard-working and creative Scandinavian players who are the key to the Bolton midfield. Jamaican Ricardo Gardner impressed in the 1998 World Cup, while exciting Gareth Farrelly makes up the midfield.
Goals have, in the past, been the problem for newly promoted sides, as strikers struggle to adapt to much tougher defences than they face in Division One. However, Bolton have got as good a chance as any other recently promoted side to score plenty
Dean Holdsworth, the ex-Wimbledon man, always looked capable at this level and after a successful Division One campaign he should be in great shape for the new season. Michael Ricketts gained a reputation as a super-sub, after netting goal after goal off the bench, but will be looking to shake off that tag and should start most games. Veteran Ian Marshall, who can also play in defence, will add some much needed experience to the front line.
Bolton may have made a lightning quick start to the season but don’t expect it to last – they simply don’t have enough strength in depth to cope with a full Premiership season. If they are not relegated, they will be somewhere in the lower part of the bottom half of the table. They are capable of beating any team in the Premiership as they showed against Liverpool but it is difficult to see where more than 40 points will come from.