Trust in Trotters is paying off

Date published: Wednesday 24th April 2013 9:39

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Bolton are sat in the play-off positions with two games remaining and with our destiny firmly in our own hands. Who would have predicted that at the turn of the year!

Me for a start! I was one of the few believers who thought we could do it. We have always had a squad of players good enough for this league, they just needed organisation and direction and Dougie Freedman has provided that.

Freedman needed time to implement the changes and as soon as the players started to buy into his philosophy, we have seen an upturn in results.

Reading proved last season what can happen when you get on a run, it is just a shame that our run did not start a little bit sooner or we may have gone into the last couple of games pushing for the second automatic spot.

I read somewhere that if you took the amount of points Crystal Palace accumulated under Freedman and added them to the amount we have won since he took charge, it would be enough to have already sealed promotion.

It shows what a top manager he is and why Palace fans were so gutted to see him go. They would probably be celebrating with Cardiff now had he stayed, instead they are looking pretty shaky under the leadership of Ian Holloway.

Without a doubt, one of the main reasons Bolton have flourished since January has been the arrival of Craig Dawson from West Brom and he is going to be a huge loss when he returns to the Hawthorns.

The loss of key players at such a crucial stage of the season is a worry and I believe it is the biggest threat to our chances of returning to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Dawson has been a rock at the back and it is no coincidence that we have tightened up at the back since he arrived, while his goals at the other end have won us some crucial points.

The loss of Jay Spearing in midfield is another blow and although we have beaten Bristol City and Middlesbrough without him, he was missed against Leicester. It has been suggested he could be back for the Blackpool game and lets hope that is the case.

The return of Stuart Holden is a boost but we cannot get too carried away. We all know what he is capable of but he has been out for such a long time it would be unfair to expect him to come straight back in and start bossing the midfield again.

The game time at Sheffield Wednesday will have done him good though and I guess just having his personality around the dressing room will give everyone a lift.

I have a feeling that Freedman will be keen to stick with the midfielders that have served us so well over the last few months and I think the best Holden can hope for is a place on the bench.

One player that won’t play again this season is of course David Ngog, which makes it even more surprising that Kevin Davies could be on the verge of joining Toronto!

Surely we will hold on until the season is over?! It is fair to say that Davies is out of the picture at the moment, with Tom Eaves taking his place on the bench, but if anything was to happen to him, Marvin Sordell or Craig Davies, we’d be in big trouble.

SKD can still do a job for us and it would be fitting if he scored the winning goal at Wembley to take us back up! But it would be crazy to let him go at this stage of the season.

So bring on Cardiff, who hopefully will have been partying all week and will be nursing a few headaches and heavy legs.

Three points and other results going our way could mean our place in the play-offs is secure going into the final day of the season, but knowing Bolton as we do, that is unlikely to happen.

We usually take things right to the wire and I’m guessing we’ll go into the game against the Seasiders needing some kind of result.

Even so we’d all have taken that six months ago, when needing three points to stay up was looking more likely!

By Mickey Holland, FanZone’s Bolton Wanderers blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @Mickey_Holland – and don’t forget to follow @FanZone too!

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