Tomorrow, Hill’s Bolton side host a Southend United team who are their nearest rivals at the foot of the League One table. Wanderers have made great strides to wipe out the 12-point EFL penalty and trail the Shrimpers by five points.
While his side still have to make up 15 points on teams outside the relegation zone, the manager insists there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful, with definitive progress continuing on and off the field.
“I am happy with the progress being made,” said Hill. “I believe in what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, the fact that we’re in positive points. We’re in the throes of the war of the battle of the job and we’re really pleased but we’ve got to be careful because with every turn it’s almost like there can be a kidney blow coming in the fight and sometimes things make you take a step back.
“We haven’t stepped back and realised how far we’ve come, we’ve got to contemplate that and be proud of it but the journey’s still in progress and we’ve got to enjoy the journey.”
The next step on the journey involves a bid to end their four-game winless run against the Shrimpers, who themselves have just one win – in the EFL Trophy – since September.
And Hill is refusing to ramp up the pressure on his squad, despite their current run.
“I think we put too much of a demand on ourselves and on the players in what is a unique season for BWFC,” he added. “But the dust will settle, the path will clear and it will become easier. Our work won’t get any less demanding and we’re going to have to make Bolton great in a different way to how it’s been done before, we are focused, we’re determined to do it and to make the squad of players that we’ve got better – better by development, better by encouragement, and better by recruitment. That takes time.
“You have to have that belief system, with the whole of the football club believing in what you’re doing. If you’re not, you have too many on-site saboteurs who don’t believe and eventually they can make inroads into what is a belief system.
“You can have it 99.9 per cent, and that leads to 100-per-cent failure, so we have to have total buy-in. That’s what we’re trying to bring to BWFC.”