dawanderer pops in….
This second guest piece comes from dawanderer, all the way from the USA. He`s predicting good stuff for the rest of the season. Enjoy…
Bolton are five points off the playoffs with 8 matches to go. That’s not a massive gap and it would have seemed unrealistic at the beginning of February. I’m going to break down our chances in the last eight matches to see if we can storm into the playoffs. Keep in mind that forms of other teams can fluctuate and the Championship is probably the most unpredictable league in the world. (Peterborough 5 – Bolton 4??) I wrote this before the Charlton game, so everything will have changed by the time the games come, knowing the Championship/better’s nightmare.
Charlton (A) – A win here this weekend is a must. They have lost their last three home matches, which is promising. Their dangermen are Johnnie Jackson (scores some cracking free kicks), Haynes, and Kermorgant. Ricardo Fuller (remember him from Stoke?) plays for them, but he hasn’t been prolific. A win is definitely realistic.
Huddersfield (H) – They have lost their last two matches and are 16th. James Vaughan, once a promising star for Everton, is their top scorer and Adam Clayton has 4 goals and 4 assists for them. This will be three points for us. Come on, it’s Huddersfield. At home. I never know what to expect from Bolton this season.
Wolves (H) – How the mighty (I use that in the loosest sense) have fallen. One good thing about this season is that we haven’t been as bad as the other relegated sides. Wolves are in a puddle of something nasty, which can also be applied to Wolverhampton. I passed through the train station in Wolverhampton once and one look was enough. Anyway, on to the team. Dean Saunders replaced Stale Solbakken and has tried to be strict and go back to the basics. Apparently, he wanted to ban McDonald’s meals for the players. As you can tell, Wolves are a bit of a joke. They did win their last match at home to Bristol City, featuring a calamitous own goal. If you haven’t seen it, look it up. It’s pure comedic gold. They do have some quality players though. Bakary Sako looks pure class, scoring 12 goals and assisting 11. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake is still hanging around, but he’s scoring for a change. They are second bottom and in a relegation scrap. Let’s give ’em a shove into League One, lads.
Bristol City (A) – I remember the home match earlier this season, which was a lovely win under Jimmy Phillips. Now, City are bottom, but they can’t be underestimated (remember Peterboroughgate?). Sean O’Driscoll, who was unfairly sacked from Forest, has brought some good recent results for City at home. Steve Davies (another Davies!) is their top scorer. Adomah, who we were linked with at one point, is their leading assist provider. A win, but a nervy one.
Leicester (A) – This will be tough. They aren’t in the best recent form, but they are a direct rival and boast a good goal difference. Nugent and Wood are goal threats and Knockaert will aim to give Bolton a knock-out blow. Leicester also have the tightest defence in the Championship. I am going to be an optimist and say a narrow victory, but a draw would be a good result and more realistic. A gritty draw, then.
Middlesbrough (H) – Middlesbrough were on course for a playoff spot, but they have collapsed in 2013. They’ve lost their last 3 and many in the early months of this year. Jutkiewicz and McDonald are decent strikers and they’ve some other good midfielders like McEachran and Jonathan Woodgate (don’t laugh), but I see a win for us. Middlesbrough have drawn the least games in the division, so more evidence for a home win. Please.
Cardiff (A) – Along with Leicester, this is our toughest match. However, when Cardiff came to T’Reebok, I thought that they looked very ordinary for the top team in the league. This reinforces the fact that to succeed in the Championship, teams need to be solid and consistent overall, but not necessarily flashy. A draw is attainable, but the defence and midfield need to nullify the multiple threats of Cardiff. They don’t have a standout scorer or assist provider but Helguson, Whittingham, Bellamy, and Gunnarsson need watching. A draw is attainable.
Blackpool (H) – Strange things are going on at Blackpool. Having lost Holloway to Palace, they brought in Appleton, who left to Blackburn, being sacked just months later. I think we dodged a bullet in not appointing him. Ince is their biggest danger and will provide a threat with Phillips and Taylor-Fletcher. Hopefully, we can win at a possibly sun-drenched Reebok to secure our place in the playoffs. If a playoff place is on the line, the players should be up for it and Blackpool will have nothing to play for. A win.
I’ve been very optimistic and totting up the totals, we’ll get 20 points from the last 8 games. That should get us into the playoffs with 74 points. We need to get above 70 points to have a chance. One loss is acceptable, but should we lose more than one it will be difficult. Unrealistic though it may seem, I believe that the team can go on a run, especially with the next few games against sides lower than us in the table. COYW!