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Mark Little says Preston North End game is start of a 30-game season

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
The season starts here for Wanderers – and Mark Little believes Phil Parkinson’s side can look forward with confidence.

The Whites resume action after the international break on Friday night against old rivals Preston North End, still two points off safety in the Championship table.

Still playing catch-up from a disastrous start, Wanderers have repaired some of the damage with an impressive five-game unbeaten run.

Survival is the only target in mind now at the Macron, and Little reckons there is plenty of time left to salvage the campaign.

“It’s a 30-game season now, starting with Preston,” he told The Bolton News.

“I won’t lie, when I came to Bolton I expected us to be higher in the table. But the reality is now that if we finish 21st it will be job done, we move on. Of course, I’d like to be aiming higher than that – but it’s certainly the minimum requirement right now.

“What has happened, has happened. It isn’t worth continually beating ourselves up about it. We’ve done enough in the last few weeks to show we can get results against good sides. If that continues, we will be fine.”

Little also feels his own form is now approaching what he expected when he signed at the Macron in the summer.

A lack of first team chances towards the end of last season at Bristol City left him playing catch-up when he reported for pre-season duty. But the 29-year-old feels fitter after nailing down a position on the right side of defence.

“This is the first time in months I’ve felt right,” he said. “They are a fit group of lads here and when I turned up I was behind them.

“I was in and out at Bristol City last season and probably hadn’t been first choice and playing regular football for six months. You can only really get to your top levels when you are playing games.”

Getting back into the Bolton team has also had a confidence-boosting effect for the Worcester-born defender, who admits his early days in the North West were tough.

“It was more to do with the results but I think when you’re not playing games you won’t be a happy person, simple as that.

“Moving up the other side of the country was tough too, but I’m feeling now how I wanted to be at the start of the season. For whatever reason, it’s a better feeling.”

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