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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » Parkinson draws on experience to solve Wanderers' League One slump

Parkinson draws on experience to solve Wanderers' League One slump

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
The crisis of confidence afflicting Wanderers is nothing new for Phil Parkinson, who has fought through such situations and lived to tell the tale before.

Though disappointed by the midweek defeat at Rochdale, and by the fact his side have been reluctant to put away some gilt-edged opportunities in the last few weeks, he is reluctant to appear too reactive to a bad run of results.

Virtually the same players who rattled off four straight wins at the start of the season – making it the best start to a season for 80-odd years – have been labouring of late but rediscovering that magic touch, says the manager, is a relatively simple process.

“We have started brightly for the last few weeks, it’s just at the moment when we miss chances it is affecting us too much,” he told The Bolton News. “When James (Henry) had that great opportunity at the far post against Rochdale, you could see when he missed it that the heads dropped. We stopped doing what we had done so well up to that point.

“Firstly we need to start taking those opportunities but if we miss them at the weekend against Oxford then we’ve got to be tougher and make sure we keep going, keep producing.”

Knowing what Wanderers have gone through in the last year, it is no wonder fans’ patience is brittle. Criticism of the performance on Tuesday night has been widespread and – in some cases – extreme but Parkinson is ready to place some faith in his players against Oxford.

Only three of the team which walked off the pitch after the final whistle at Rochdale, David Wheater, Zach Clough and Lawrie Wilson, did the same at Fulham on the final day of last season. On that day, a fans’ banner which memorably read: “No effort, no hope” summed up what had been a nightmarish campaign.

Parkinson worked hard to rid the players who had encountered relegation of their demons on his arrival in the summer and has called on them to dig in this weekend.

“We need to be stronger, you can’t argue that there has been a downturn in form but I don’t think it’s a spill-over from last year, it’s just something which has happened, something which happens to most clubs during the course of the season,” he explained. “When go through a spell of not scoring you can feel the players’ confidence get knocked. We are the only people who can put it right. We have to make sure we are mentally tough and come up with three points. As a player and a manager I have been on difficult runs and the lads do care – I can tell you that now – they are really hurting. But football changes quickly.”


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