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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » Howard’s warning: It’s fight or fright for Whites at Rochdale

Howard’s warning: It’s fight or fright for Whites at Rochdale

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Mark Howard predicts that Wanderers will have to roll up their sleeves tonight at Rochdale if they are to get back to winning ways.

The Wanderers keeper sees no reason for alarm following a five-game spell in which Phil Parkinson’s side have failed to win a league game, insisting performances have merited more points.

But with a Lancashire derby on the cards tonight at the Crown Oil Arena he has warned the Whites against any form of complacency.

Rochdale have got themselves upwardly mobile in League One after a four-game unbeaten run, culminating in Saturday’s 3-2 win at Millwall.

Keith Hill’s side have developed a good reputation for playing technical football in the lower leagues but Howard predicts the local rivalry will turn the contest into a different type of game.

“Rochdale can play football when they want,” he told The Bolton News. “But I look at this one and know it’s going to be a fight. League One isn’t easy. It’ll be a scrappy game, I know that. It’ll be physical but the size and the strength of our team should mean we can impose ourselves.”

The target on Wanderers’ back is clear, as they know well after becoming a scalp on Walsall’s mantelpiece a few weeks ago. Howard believes the first step to avoiding that tonight will be to match Keith Hill’s side in the effort stakes.

“I had it at Sheffield United for a few years,” he said. “Teams do up their game when they play you. But we have enough quality in the dressing room to beat anyone in this league on our day – we just need to make sure we’re up for it.

“If we want to go up, and that’s our aim, we can’t look past the next game, Rochdale, and make sure we match them for every bit of effort and then let that quality tell.”

Howard has blended in well to a Wanderers back line and thus far fended off the challenge of deadline day signing Ben Alnwick for the number one spot.

But the Londoner admits the changeable weather in Bolton has taken some getting used to.

“I’ve never known anywhere rain like this since I lived in Glasgow,” he said. “It really does. There are times I drive across from Sheffield in shorts and a t-shirt and then wish you’d worn a wetsuit. Our training ground is excellent, though, and you can’t complain about the condition of the pitches. It’s a class facility.”


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