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Ben Alnwick is not looking beyond survival scrap

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Ben Alnwick insists survival should be Wanderers’ one-and-only target in the Championship this season.

The Bolton keeper is not getting carried away by a five-game unbeaten run, which helped the club start moving back up the table after a nightmarish start.

Alnwick has played a prominent part in turning around the Whites’ form, making key saves at Fulham, Sunderland and against Norwich.

After nudging ahead of Sunderland he is now looking to claw back ground on the teams above - Burton Albion and Birmingham City.

The 30-year-old believes the best way for Phil Parkinson’s side to preserve their momentum is by refusing to look beyond the next game against Preston North End, after the international break.

“We would be kidding ourselves if we thought any differently,” he told The Bolton News. “We know what has gone on behind the scenes at Bolton but we still went up, and for me, this season is about staying in this division.

“If that means taking scrappy one-nils or pinching a point here and there then I’ll take it.

“It’s such a long season that you can completely change your mind on where you think you should be. You can go on a little run, like we’re on now, and think ‘I don’t know what we were worried about’ or then lose a few games and the uncertainty creeps in.

“The best way is to just hang in there, keep doing what we think will work for the next game, and we’ll be fine.”

Wanderers waited 12 games for their first win of the campaign, something they hadn’t previously done in 115 years, but now boast the second-longest unbeaten run in the Championship behind Brentford.

“It has turned quickly,” Alnwick said. “Last season we went on a run out of nowhere at this time of year too.

“If we can carry this on after the international break, we’ll be alright.”

Alnwick has done his best to avoid the headlines emanating from the boardroom over the last 18 months. But nevertheless, the keeper feels he is playing at a more stable club than the one he joined last summer in League One.

“You hear bits and bobs but I just try to keep away from it as much as possible. The staff do the same, it has been brushed off,” he said.

“People kept asking me ‘what’s happening with Bolton?’ And I didn’t have a clue what to tell them because I didn’t know more than anyone else. But I think it has proved the best way. It feels like we’re through all that now.”

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