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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » Dancing in the dark: How Bolton have become League Two's night owls

Dancing in the dark: How Bolton have become League Two's night owls

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Gethin Jones is at a loss to explain why Wanderers have become League Two’s most effective night owls.

Ian Evatt’s men are undefeated in the league this season on a Tuesday evening, their victory at Salford City making it nine wins and four draws from 13 attempts.

They face one more midweek test at home to Exeter City next week – but the full-back, whose tireless defending helped protect a 1-0 lead at the Peninsula Stadium, can’t put his finger on why the Whites have been so effective under floodlights.

“I don’t know what it is but it is going well,” he said. “We don’t do much differently, being honest. We came in for 3.30pm for a bit of pre-match and then travelled into Salford. Obviously it wasn’t a long trip this time but we prepare exactly the same.

“Maybe the lads have a better sleep? I don’t know what it is, but it is working.”

WANDERERS' MIDWEEK RESULTS: Barrow (a) D3-3, Bradford (h) W1-0, Mansfield (h) D1-1, Salford (h) W2-0, Scunthorpe (a) W1-0, Cheltenham (a) W1-0, Exeter (a) D1-1, Morecambe (h) D1-1, Mansfield (a) W3-2, Scunthorpe (h) W2-0, Oldham (a) W2-0, Cambridge (h) W2-1, Salford (a) W1-0.

Sleep won’t have been a problem on Tuesday night with Jones admitting the post-match dancing would have tired out any player who didn’t leave it all out on the field.

The defender admitted there was an extra motivation for Bolton to become the first side to beat Salford on their own turf in League Two this season but the celebrations quickly turned into focus on the next game at Grimsby this weekend.

“We wanted to break that record,” he said. “We’d gone into the game full of confidence after the weekend, especially from the second half performance on Saturday, and we knew we could implement what we needed to win the game.

“We knew it would be a fast start, end to end, but we had loads of chances. Unfortunately we didn’t put them away.

“Izzy’s goal – I don’t know if he crossed it or had a little shot but it went in, so we’re made up.

“He’s claiming it. I don’t think he has had many goals this season, I think that’s his third, and people are saying Kieran Lee should have the one from Saturday but that is definitely his one.”

Wanderers were unusually forced on to the back foot in the second half at Salford, having just 41 per cent of possession after half time. The Whites’ pass success also dropped as low as 55 per cent as defensive clearances became the order of the day.

“You expected Salford to start fast in the second half after they had brought more attacking players on and we dug deep,” Jones explained. “We knew we could play sometimes but it would be one of those second halves where we stuck together.

“Yes, we were camped in a little bit but everyone, even Delf (Nathan Delfouneso) was putting his body on the line. We said after the game when he’s doing that, you know we’re doing something right and we’re all made up.”

With five games remaining there is a strong sense of optimism in the Wanderers camp that automatic promotion is within grasp.

As things stand, four wins would guarantee League One football next season, and that assumes fourth-placed Morecambe win all their remaining games – including a clash with Bolton on April 24.

Jones says the mood within the club is buoyant, but that focus will not be lost within the dressing room.

“It’s brilliant,” he said. “Everyone, every day has got a big smile on their face.

“This club has not had the best of years lately but we have come in wanting to get it back to where it belongs. The facilities here, it shouldn’t be in League Two, it should be at least Championship or Premier League again.

“So we enjoy training, working with the staff, and we’re doing it on the pitch on a Saturday and Tuesday at the moment so we’re all really made up.

“We enjoyed that – but now we need to rest up now because there’s lots of preparation to do for Grimsby on Saturday.”


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