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Money just can’t buy Wanderers’ team spirit

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karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
As he prepared to head to the West Midlands to face a Wolves team reaping the benefits of hefty summer spending, Phil Parkinson was heaping praise on his squad’s professionalism and team spirit.

Wanderers are far from fancied to leave Molineux with any reward but, whatever the outcome this afternoon, the manager is adamant they will not be found wanting for effort or togetherness.

“We’re trying everything we can to get out of the bottom three,” Parkinson told The Bolton News ahead of taking on the table-toppers. “We should really be out of it by now but we’re not but we’re working very, very hard and I want to reiterate that it’s everybody at the club working extremely hard to build this club back up again – each game is a big challenge for us but we’re enjoying that.

“The lads have been great, I’ve got to say that, they’re really giving us everything they’ve got and we want to continue in our current vein of form.

“I’m enjoying working with this group of players because there’s a real hunger and a togetherness about them and when I see the lads out on the training pitch working with the professionalism that they always have done it’s a great lift for all the staff.

“And it’s not just the lads who start, the ones who come off the bench and those who don’t even make the 18, everyone’s got to keep pulling together and we’ll take that spirit down with us to Molineux.”

With centre-back Mark Beevers available after serving his one-game suspension, Parkinson has to decide whether to restore the towering ex-Millwall man to his starting line-up or keep faith with Reece Burke.

The on-loan West Ham youngster impressed when he deputised against Reading in midweek, and capped his performance with a goal.

And Parkinson, who knows full well the ability of Burke, having taken him to Bradford in the 2015/16 season, says he embodies the all-for-one attitude of those itching to get onto the pitch.

“There’s definitely strength in depth with players staking a claim to play,” he said. “I’ve been pleased with the mood of the lads who haven’t been playing – you don’t want them to be too happy, obviously, but myself, Steve [Parkin] and the rest of the staff have been pleased because we know it’s difficult when you don’t make the team and it’s difficult when you don’t make the bench.

“We understand that, but as we’ve seen many times in football, you can go from not being in the 18 to playing very quickly and you’ve got to be ready for it.

“It’s a tough call and I don’t want to give anything away on that decision, because Reece came in and I was so pleased for him because he’s played for us at Bradford on the left-hand side of a two and done really well, and he showed signs the other night just what a good player he is, he gives us that quality on the ball as well, so there’s more to come from him.

“Both Reece and Josh Cullen have had quite a lot of football, when they came in at the start of the season it was always going to be a big ask for youngsters to come into a team which was struggling, they probably needed a bit more guidance themselves out on the pitch, but their attitude has been great.

“We’ve got to concentrate on keeping up our performance level, we’ve spoken to the lads about the last 15 minutes the other night, and about the game in general.

“It was such a shame when we were five or six minutes away from what would have been an outstanding performance and result.

“There are certain elements I’ve got to look at, like substitutions.

“The lads who come on have to make sure they’re ready to make a contribution, to give us a lift.

“We wanted to get that third goal but we just felt that at times we went for the killer pass too quickly, didn’t give ourselves enough time to work our way up the pitch with the ball.

“That’s what we’ve been speaking to the lads about over the last couple of days, managing the game better.”

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