Mar 092015
 

It looks like David Wheater is finished for the season with a hamstring injury, as is Kevin McNaughton with a fractured leg. Neil Lennon has wasted little time in finding cover, bringing Crystal Palace man Paddy McCarthy to the club on a loan deal.

It is a well-known rule in the English Football League that only five players on loan from other clubs may feature in a match day squad of 18 players.  Most of the time, for most clubs, this is not really an issue.  Unfortunately, for Bolton Wanderers and their manager Neil Lennon, this season it has become an issue.  Unlike Watford FC’s blatant attempts to game the system in the past, Bolton’s troubles have been the result of a nearly unprecedented injury crisis.

At this point in the season, there are only two ways to cope with a decimated first team; a) Promote players from the youth system., b) Sign more players on loan.  Lennon has tried both methods, and had some success (as well as some failure) with each.  But everyone even remotely close to being ready to execute option A has already been tried, so option B is really all that remains.

Despite being continually disappointed by Crystal Palace rejects under the Dougie Freedman regime, Wanderers have decided to go back to the pot one more time, in hopes that a new manager will yield new results.  31-year-old central defender Paddy McCarthy has just about completed a deal to join Bolton on loan for the remainder of the season.  Marc Iles of the Bolton News is reporting that the Irishman could go straight into the squad against Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday night.

This could be a decent enough signing, or completely insignificant.  One likely fact about it: Even if Matt Mills and Dorian Dervite stay fit, and McCarthy never actually appears in a match, he will have to be on the sub’s bench in order to provide defensive cover, just in case.  That leaves four spots for loan players.  Ben Amos is our only option in goal at the moment.  Three spots.  Barry Bannan has been very good in midfield since he came over, and appears an automatic choice going forward.  Two spots.  Saidy Janko has impressed as well, and while he may not start every match, I can’t see him not being in the 18.  One spot.  The same is true of Adam Le Fondre.  And that leaves no spot in the 18 to even be divided amongst Giles Coke, Simon Slavchev and Rochinha.

Neil Lennon is going to have some tough decisions to make.

Feb 222015
 

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

It was a sad day at The City Ground for Bolton Wanderers supporters, as Neil Lennon’s squad looked awful and former manager Dougie Freedman walked away with an easy three points.

Things were looking bad from the start going into Saturday’s match.  The injury list was shrinking a bit, as Matt Mills returned to the starting XI and Emile Heskey was on the bench, but the trip came too soon for Craig Davies.  Kevin McNaughton is fit though, as far as we know.  So is Josh Vela, who started in the midfield.  Despite that, Neil Lennon decided to start Tim Ream at right back, and give young midfielder Filip Twardzik his full debut at left back.  I’m not in close contact with Dougie Freedman at the moment, but I can only imagine that he and his Nottingham Forest side were a confident bunch when they saw today’s team sheets.

It didn’t take long for disaster to strike.  Chris Burke scored in the ninth minute.  Twardzik slipped, and even though Andy Lonergan managed to save the first shot, Burke easily scored on the rebound.  Michail Antonio scored Forest’s second in the 18th minute, running past three Bolton defenders before finishing well past Lonergan.  There was also a worrisome moment in the 34th minute when Tim Ream went down after colliding with the goal post.  He was stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Dean Moxey.  By this point winger Liam Feeney had moved to right back.

The away side were lucky not to be down by even more when they were thrown a lifeline.  Zach Clough was taken down in the box by Danny Fox.  Adam Le Fondre scored the penalty to make it 2-1 and give the traveling supporters some hope.  That hope didn’t last long.

Twardzik picked up an injury in the first half and had to be replaced at halftime by Emile Heskey.  Many have mentioned that they would like to see what Le Fondre could do working with a target man like Heskey.  Unfortunately, we only got to see this partnership for about 3 minutes.  Mills fouled Antonio, just as he had three minutes before the end of the first half, and Mills received a yellow card, just as he had three minutes before the end of the first half.  For this of you keeping track at home, that’s two yellow cards, which equals one red card, which equals ten men on the pitch for Bolton Wanderers.

Neil Lennon was enjoying his positional experimentations so much that he put Heskey at centre back, partnered with Dorian Derive for the remainder of the match.  Unsurprisingly, the defending that followed was a Shakespearian special, comedy and tragedy.  The comedy was Heskey trying to defend.  The tragedy was Lonergan giving away a penalty, and seriously injuring himself in the process.  It took six minutes for him to be stretchered off the pitch, and rumors were flying that he had broken his neck.  There have been some reports on Twitter that his CT scan came back negative, but the club have not confirmed anything.

Anyhow, Ben Amos made his debut for the club in this unfortunate situation, and was unable to stop Henri Lansbury scoring the penalty.  Burke later added a second to finish the scoring.

To sum up, Bolton were terrible.  The team sheet was a mess, players were in unfamiliar positions, there was a lack of effort, tactics seemed haphazard and poorly communicated, and as usual the defending was atrocious.  All in all, it was like Dougie was back in charge.  And now we have a quick turnaround trip to Middlesborough on Tuesday, with several new absentees through injury and suspension.  The praise was heaped on Neil Lennon when he first arrived, now it is time to earn it.

Feb 142015
 

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Championship clash between Bolton and Watford at the Macron Stadium as Neil Lennon looks to keep his unbeaten home league record alive.

By Barney Corkhill, Reporter
Filed: Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 14:42 UK

Last Updated: Friday, February 13, 2015 at 08:52 UK

Watford will be looking to strengthen their position in the playoff places when they travel to the Macron Stadium to face Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.

The Hornets picked up an important victory over 10-man Brentford on Tuesday night as Odion Ighalo once again proved to be the hero with a brace as his side came from behind to seal a late triumph over their top-six rivals.

That result saw Watford climb up to fifth in the table, and any slip-up from Ipswich Town away to Fulham this weekend would give Slavisa Jokanovic‘s side the chance to continue their ascent up into fourth place.

In Ighalo they have the league’s most in-form player, with the Nigerian having scored 11 goals in his last seven games, 10 of which have come in 2015 – more than any other player in the top four tiers of English football.

That lethal scoring spree has helped Watford to four wins in their last five games and eight in their last 11, leaving them only six points behind league leaders Middlesbrough.

Most of their recent success has come at Vicarage Road, however, and the win over Brentford on Tuesday was doubly important for Jokanovic as it ended a three-match losing streak on the road in all competitions.

Despite the quick turnaround in fixtures, Watford could name an unchanged lineup, with Fernando Forestieri and Troy Deeney – both of whom scored in a 3-0 Watford victory in the reverse fixture – providing support for the red-hot Ighalo.

Bolton also come into this match off the back of a midweek victory and, like Watford, they left it late to grab all three points at home to Fulham on Tuesday night.

The Trotters scored twice in the final 10 minutes to complete a come-from-behind win, with Manchester United loanee Saidy Janko amongst the scorers in a man-of-the-match performance on his debut for the club.

The importance of the result will not have been lost on Neil Lennon, who had seen his side go five matches without a victory in all competitions before the game, including a heartbreaking exit from the FA Cup.

Three of those outings came in the Championship as Bolton conceded 10 goals on their way to just one point from a possible nine, but they do still remain unbeaten in the league under Lennon at the Macron, with that run now stretching to nine matches.

With Birmingham City not in action this weekend, Bolton would move into the top half of the table with a victory, a sign of the impressive work Lennon has done at the club since his arrival.

A number of new additions impressed during the week and are in line to start again on Saturday, with Barry Bannan expected to continue in the middle of the park and Adam le Fondre likely to keep his place alongside Eidur Gudjohnsen up front after both strikers scored against Fulham.

David Wheater passed a late fitness test to start that match and should be included from the off again, but the likes of Liam Trotter, Adam Bogdan, Emile Heskey, Mark Davies, Max Clayton and Matt Mills could all miss out once more.

Bolton:

Form in Championship: DWLDLW
Form in all competitions: DLDLLW

Possible starting lineup: Lonergan; Janko, Wheater, Dervite, Ream; Vela, Bannan, Danns, Feeney; Gudjohnsen, Le Fondre

Watford:

Recent form: LWWLWW

Possible starting lineup: Gomes; Paredes, Cathcart, Angella, Anya; Watson, Tozser, Layun, Ighalo, Forestieri; Deeney

Sports Mole says: 2-2

Feb 122015
 
Liverpool monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela - Daily Mail

Liverpool are monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela  Vela impressed against Liverpool in the recent FA Cup ties The Reds bid for him when he was a teenager but their offer was rejected   By Simon Jones for MailOnline Published: 06:28 EST, 12 February 2015 | Updated: 10:52 EST, 12 February 2015 84 shares 11 […]

Feb 122015
 
Liverpool monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela - Daily Mail

Liverpool are monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela  Vela impressed against Liverpool in the recent FA Cup ties The Reds bid for him when he was a teenager but their offer was rejected   By Simon Jones for MailOnline Published: 06:28 EST, 12 February 2015 | Updated: 10:52 EST, 12 February 2015 78 shares 11 […]

Feb 122015
 
Liverpool monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela - Daily Mail

Liverpool are monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela  Vela impressed against Liverpool in the recent FA Cup ties The Reds bid for him when he was a teenager but their offer was rejected   By Simon Jones for MailOnline Published: 06:28 EST, 12 February 2015 | Updated: 10:52 EST, 12 February 2015 76 shares 11 […]

Feb 122015
 
Liverpool monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela - Daily Mail

Liverpool are monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela  Vela impressed against Liverpool in the recent FA Cup ties The Reds bid for him when he was a teenager but their offer was rejected   By Simon Jones for MailOnline Published: 06:28 EST, 12 February 2015 | Updated: 06:29 EST, 12 February 2015 Liverpool are monitoring […]

Feb 112015
 
Saidy Janko scores wondergoal on Bolton Wanderers debut and grabs assist - The Peoples Person

Saidy Janko enjoyed a dream debut on loan at Bolton Wanderers last night by scoring a wondergoal and also getting an assist. The 19-year-old played on the right-wing for Bolton and proved to be the gamechanger on the night with a performance which will fill him with confidence having joined Bolton on transfer deadline day. […]

Feb 112015
 
Saidy Janko scores wondergoal on Bolton Wanderers debut and grabs assist - The Peoples Person

Saidy Janko enjoyed a dream debut on loan at Bolton Wanderers last night by scoring a wondergoal and also getting an assist. The 19-year-old played on the right-wing for Bolton and proved to be the gamechanger on the night with a performance which will fill him with confidence having joined Bolton on transfer deadline day. […]

Feb 102015
 
Question Time: Bolton Wanderers vs Fulham - Lion of Vienna Suite

Fulham fan @DanielAustin16 gives us his take on tonight’s proceedings in his excellent answers given this was written during a quite brilliant Broadchurch episode 1. How are you finding life in The Championship? I think it is fair to say we are finding life quite difficult since being relegated. I was never under the impression […]