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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » COMMENT: Wanderers release old guard and move into new era

COMMENT: Wanderers release old guard and move into new era

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karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Contrary to the belief of some around the Macron stands, Phil Parkinson and his coaching staff were acutely aware of their squad’s strengths and their limitations last season.

Not long before the last-day heroics against Nottingham Forest splashed a euphoric wash on what had been an ugly picture, critics had mounted to put considerable pressure on the manager’s job.

Whether it was fair to deride Parkinson, given the limitations he had been working under in the transfer market, has been much-discussed.

The most vociferous of the manager’s critics were adamant he was wholly to blame for the sterile, defensive fayre served up in defeats against Burton, Millwall and Birmingham. But in those final few weeks, as Wanderers limped towards the finishing line in danger of dropping out of the division, Parkinson could see some of his players had run their race.

The heart of the team he assembled at the cost of zero could not be questioned, yet as the players trudged off, heads bowed, at the Pirelli Stadium it was difficult to see how he could lift them again.

That Parkinson and his staff did drag those players off their haunches to produce such a swashbuckling display on the final weekend was ample encouragement for Ken Anderson to back his judgement in this summer transfer market.

In relying on the manager’s ability to milk every last drop of effort from last season’s squad and avoid relegation Wanderers took a calculated gamble, which only just paid off. Had Bolton dropped into League One they would have done so with a manageable playing budget and the proceeds of Madine’s sale to tide them over.

True, there are other – possibly bigger - financial challenges to tackle for Anderson at the Macron, but focussing purely on the football side Wanderers now stand apart from many of their contemporaries in that they are not jeopardising their financial future with what is being spent on wages and transfer fees.

Investment is now a must. Burton showed you can beat the curve once, but a lack of proven Championship signings will eventually come back to bite you in the behind. And therein lies the difficult choice this summer.

For the first time in more than a decade, Wanderers’ wage structure looks somewhere near workable. Whatever money comes into the club in the next few months – and Anderson maintains talks with outside parties continue apace – it should not skew the progress which has been made.

Putting rivalries aside, Preston’s model of steady investment in young, energetic players looks to be a perfect blueprint for where Bolton head next.

Parkinson, a manager who places so much in the character of his players, took a difficult decision to release three of his most trusted lieutenants in Darren Pratley, Karl Henry and Aaron Wilbraham so he could take a step forward in the evolution of his squad as a whole.

Recognising he needs more creativity and dynamism from the middle of the park, a fresh approach may also be good news for Josh Vela, whose performances last season so often looked stifled.

It must be noted that there is now more pressure on Parkinson to deliver. Embargos and budgets have offered the manager a shield for the brickbats which have come his way over the last two years. And while he is still not working with a massive budget, there is at least a little more scope in the players he can recruit – even in the free transfer market.

The exit of Pratley and Co was a big statement to make. And if the confidence inside the camp is anything to go by, the recruitment of Walsall’s enigmatic playmaker Erhun Oztumer could be a signpost to a very different Bolton Wanderers team next season.

Parkinson has spent two years working with the materials available, getting promotion and staying in the Championship against the odds, albeit with football which has rarely pleased the purists. Can he now marry that team spirit with a style which puts bums in seats at the Macron? We watch and wait.

Source

Natasha Whittam

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Drivel.

y2johnny


Tony Kelly
Tony Kelly
@Natasha Whittam wrote:Drivel.
Are you Gazza compton on twitter

Natasha Whittam

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
As if I'd have a Twitter account. I have a life.

karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
@Natasha Whittam wrote:As if I'd have a Twitter account. I have a life.
:rofl:

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