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Away success a top priority for Wanderers boss Keith Hill

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Wanderers will end this decade with the worst away return in all four divisions – but as Keith Hill takes his side to Peterborough United, a plan to change that will be contemplated.

Life on the road has seldom ran smooth for Bolton in the last 10 years, regardless of which of their five managers was in the hotseat.

Since New Year’s Day 2010, the club has won just 45 out of 236 games, taking 187 points.

For the current incumbent, however, the sizeable task of ensuring the Whites do not drop into the fourth tier for only the second time in their history could hang on improving their points return away from the UniBol.

Only Wigan (0.27) and Barnsley (0.2) have taken fewer points per game than Wanderers (0.43) away from home this season, although Hill was the man to finally put a victory on the board when his side beat Bristol Rovers 2-0 in October.

Saturday’s opponents Peterborough have built their promotion chase on solid home form, and have scored more goals than anyone else this season, which makes an immediate sure for travel sickness all the more unlikely.

Hill accepts that Bolton must act soon, however, if they are to upset the odds and avoid relegation.

“Peterborough has been in our thinking for a couple of weeks and I know we have to get to a place where we are picking up points away from home,” he told The Bolton News. “We can’t ignore the fact our home form has been okay, we’ve lost one in the league, and I think that should and will trickle on.

“Away from home, though, we have lost three games since I have been here. Now I have to think about how we turn that around and get results. We probably should have done it pre-season but we didn’t have one.”

Wanderers’ defensive record on the road has been leaky, to say the least. There are mitigating factors behind 5-0 hammerings at Tranmere and Gillingham, or indeed the 6-1 at Rotherham when Hill first took charge. But the 7-1 defeat at Accrington cut deep and the Bolton boss is in no doubt that things have to improve to stay up.

“I don’t really analyse the numbers involved but I know it can be hard for the players,” he said. “We know we have got a negative goal difference but we’re trying to take games in isolation.

“We know we have to be better away from home. We have to be physically and mentally stronger, more robust, we have to be men about it. If we do that and continue decent home form we’ll give ourselves an unbelievable opportunity.

“I think we have 10 points from five league games, so if we carry that on it’s good value.”


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