Bolton Wanderers Football Club Fan Forum for all BWFC Supporters.

You are not connected. Please login or register

INSIDE WANDERERS: Why a play-off charge gives club plenty to ponder

Reply to topic

Go down  Message [Page 1 of 1]


Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Reaching the play-offs would be an achievement for Ian Evatt and Wanderers this season – but finishing in the top six isn’t without its pitfalls.

They always say that winning the final at Wembley is the best way of getting promoted, and it might well bring more attention than finishing in the automatic spots, with all the fanfare that Sky Sports give the season finale. But the teams finishing first and second are sat with their feet up on the beach in late May, making solid plans for the Championship.

Wanderers still have plenty to do if they are to finish in the top six. They have the game in hand, they have three consecutive home matches, and – on paper – they face a favourable run-in against teams currently placed 12th and below. To fail at this stage would be a tough pill to swallow.

I have been confident for a while now that they will get there, particularly given the way they have coped defensively with the absence of Ricardo Santos, Eoin Toal and Luke Mbete. Success is almost always built from the back and this team has looked solid under pressure when many of us expected it to cave in the last few weeks.

The exact schedule for the play-offs will ultimately be decided by TV but I understand that finishing fifth would mean a Friday (May 12) home game followed by a return the following Saturday lunchtime away. Sixth would mean home on the Saturday (May 13) and then a return leg the following Saturday with a late afternoon kick-off.

Quite why those two games need to be a week apart baffles me. The last play-off run in 2001 saw Sam Allardyce’s side play on the Sunday – a full week after their final game - and Thursday, then have an 11-day break to the final in Cardiff.

The club could also face a big task turning around tickets in as little as five days between the Bristol Rovers game on May 7 and whatever challenge may face them in the semi-final.

There are further complications when you factor in that some clubs have different ticketing systems, so that even securing seats for the away leg would be more problematic in a condensed window.

This is all a theoretical argument, of course, and these timeframes will apply for any club who get into the play-offs this season. Reaching the final gives a completely different set of problems.

Wanderers have several players who are out of contract and Evatt has openly admitted that no firm promises will be given until the club know exactly which division they will be playing in next season.

Last summer, the Whites returned to Lostock for pre-season testing on June 17 before heading out to Portugal for a training camp. The operation was such a success, I would be hugely surprised if they do not look to repeat it next year.

That would mean in the event Bolton reached the final – win or lose – they would have just 19 days to resolve all those contractual issues, plus kick into gear on their recruitment.

Evatt, Chris Markham and Co have had to work on two different scenarios planning for next season. Should they get to the Championship then it stands to reason a bigger budget will be necessary. If it is a case of staying in League One – do Bolton still need extra investment to push them on from also-rans to automatic promotion contenders? A discussion for the summer, perhaps?

There is also an argument that Bolton will need to play a slightly different style of football should they reach the Championship, where playing expansively against teams who have just dropped out of the Premier League would surely be a recipe for disaster?

It is churlish to suggest that all of the above would not be problems welcomed by the club, after all, promotion to the Championship does come with £6million in additional sponsorship, plus the potential for more TV money, more exposure, another chapter in this incredible story.

But if Evatt and Co thought they could sneak a nice relaxing summer holiday, it appears they are fresh out of luck once again.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Back to top  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Reply to topic

Permissions in this forum:
You can reply to topics in this forum