Eoin Doyle is confident that Wanderers will be known for more than being just great entertainers this season in League One.
Ian Evatt’s side blew a 3-1 lead at AFC Wimbledon to draw three apiece for the second weekend running, meaning they have now scored AND conceded the most goals in the division.
Doyle, whose penalty put Bolton on their way at Plough Lane, believes the team will soon strike the right balance between defence and attack as the effects of a disrupted summer on the training ground start to settle down.
“I’m sure there are a few neutrals coming through the door who hope it carries on like that,” said the Irishman, now off the mark for this season. “It has been open in the first couple of games and again there we could have been 4-1 or 5-1 up and a couple of minutes of madness have let us down. It is frustrating.
“We have had a very, very tough pre-season, the worst I have been involved in. And you can see some of the lads are catching up with fitness, me included. The fitness is coming back in the legs and I am confident we’ll be up there, we can have success this year.”
Doyle’s summer has been particularly difficult.
The striker was one of a handful of players who had to self-isolate with Covid but his pre-season took another turn for the worst thanks to a wholly unexpected assailant.
“I came down with Covid and was fine, just me taste and smell went,” Doyle explained. “But then came back training and a week later got a violent vomiting bug – not much more I can say – from the baby. “That wiped me out and I lost three-and-a-half kilos in three days, it was that bad.
“I’ve put him up for adoption now. “It was a tough 16 days and so to miss five games was hard as I’m one of those who likes to get minutes into my legs in pre-season. It took me a while to catch up but the gaffer has managed me, had a chat, and I can feel my sharpness coming back now.”
Doyle scored once from the spot before Josh Sheehan and Dapo Afolayan put Bolton into a commanding lead at the start of the second half. Before Wimbledon mounted their comeback, however, the Irishman reckons he should have had a penalty when he was tripped on the edge of the area.
“It should have been a penalty, 100 per cent. I was in the box and he took me out,” he said.
“He said he didn’t mean to trip me over but if it had happened in the middle of the pitch then the referee would give it. There was no reason for me to go down, I was just going to pass the ball out to Josh for him to cross.
“It was such a blatant, silly and obvious thing to do, the referee must have thought it couldn’t be a penalty. I honestly think that is what went through his head at the time, “I think when he looks back at it, he’ll see it. I couldn’t stay on my feet, there was no dive or anything like that.”