But after Wanderers returned home with three points, courtesy of Yanic Wildschut’s goal on the break, the club’s assistant manager Steve Parkin says the statistics do not tell the whole tale.
And, while he would like the team to enjoy more possession, neither he nor manager Phil Parkinson will lose any sleep over the numbers game if the points column keeps healthily ticking over.
“Potentially you have to analyse the game in terms of the possession the opposition have in their own half but create nothing,” Parkin told The Bolton News. “And it’s easy to get the possession stats up if there’s a midfield player passing the ball backwards to a full-back or a centre-half 40 times in a game.
“Possession stats can be a little bit false in terms of that, the key thing for us is that we want to get them up a little bit but we want to be effective doing that.
“So if our possession stats could go up but more importantly it created more chances at goal, more opportunities for the forward players, then that would be great.
“It’ll be a tough game against Birmingham, if you saw their game against Swansea they were far and away the better team.
“Again, the possession stats show Swansea had most of the ball but if you look at the match in the cold light of day Birmingham probably had half a dozen opportunities to score in the first 20 minutes.
“So they’re a dangerous team, they’ve got dangerous players and they’ve got a way they play which we respect and I expect them to be similar to us, they’re hard-working and well-organised and it’ll be a tough game.”
One challenge for Parkinson and Parkin over the next four days is to transfer their impressive away performances into back-to-back home outings – not necessarily a straightforward task, given how much the Whites may suit playing on the road.
“I think we have had reasonably good home form in the couple of years we’ve been here,”said Parkin.
“It slackened off a little bit at the end of last season, but it’s important we put a marker down. Our away form’s been terrific and we need to capitalise on two home games, as most teams want to do.
“Sometimes the team we pick is solid and strong, good at set plays, but also has pace out wide so we can quickly get at teams on the break so it’s fair to think our style may be better suited to playing away.
“We probably wasted too many passes against Bristol City, the lads would be the first to admit that, so we need just a bit more care on the ball and a bit more brightness.
“We perhaps need to be a little bit more patient, especially if teams come in and sit in. So we might need to show a bit more patience and if the fans can show that too that would be great. It’s not easy to win at home, especially if teams come well organised and resolute.
“You need that little bit of quality and hopefully we can produce it against Birmingham.”
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