Reebok form can be key to Bolton Wanderers-QPR showdown - Alex Baptiste
DEFENDER Alex Baptiste hopes to make the most of home comforts when Wanderers host QPR on Saturday.
The summer signing from Blackpool got his first taste of the Reebok in the 1-1 draw with Reading just under a fortnight ago.
And it was a special moment for the right-back, who had not played a competitive game at Wanderers’ home ground prior to that.
His mood, like the rest of his team-mates, was dampened somewhat by last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at high-flying Nottingham Forest.
But Baptiste is experienced enough at Championship level to know things can quickly change week by week.
The 27-year-old spoke after that match of putting the loss quickly behind them and will be ready to return to home turf for another tough encounter against Harry Redknapp’s former Premier League side.
Baptiste said: “I have played a lot of minutes and games in the Championship so I know exactly what this season will be like.
“Every team is capable of winning any game. It is a very difficult league.
“The key to success in the Championship is having the ability to grind out results.
“We are back at home this weekend and that is good to have our fans behind us.
“The Reading game was my first competitive match at the Reebok and I enjoyed it.
“The stadium is unbelievable.
“I drive past it on the way home from training and it looks spectacular.
“i just hope we can do well there and hopefully we will be celebrating with the supporters in May.”
Baptiste has played every single minute for the Whites in their three Championship outings so far that have yet to yield a victory.
After experiencing the joy of promotion through the play-offs with Blackpool, as well as the heartache of a near miss with the Tangerines, he is well aware of the challenge ahead.
But he knew the calibre of squad he was joining this summer and also believes the additions alongside him in the close season have improved that group.
He now hopes that first win will come against QPR this weekend.
Baptiste added: “Bolton only narrowly missed out on the play-offs last season.
“The lads went on a great run towards the end of the season and were unlucky to miss out on goal difference.
“It is a fresh start now. the manager has added new faces to the squad and we are all really excited about this season.
“Every single player in the squad has fantastic ability and has the right to play.
“Competition for places is tough but that is how it should be.
“I am looking to help in any way I can and I want to play my part in helping Bolton Wanderers win promotion.
“Everybody at the club has one aim.
“We know it is going to be tough but we have a great squad.
“If we stick together then there is no reason why we can’t achieve our ultimate goal of promotion.”