EDDIE Howe believes Wanderers are in a “false position” in the Championship table after watching them closely in the last fortnight.
The Bournemouth boss studied defeats to QPR and Ipswich and reckons the team that the Cherries face at the Reebok for the first time in their history today should be higher than 20th.
Dougie Freedman is under pressure to pull away from the bottom three – a gap that currently stands at four points – but Howe has no doubts that there is enough quality in the camp to do so.
“From the performances I have seen, I would say they are in a false position,” he said.
“They have some very good individual players and a good manager. They have an experienced squad and a lot of players have played in the Premier League. At the start of the season, Bolton would have hoped to be competing for the top six but, for whatever reason, it hasn’t quite worked out for them.
“I know expectations can be high but I think they are at most Championship clubs. There are probably 15 or 16 who think they should be in and around the top six but, when you do the maths, you realise only a select few can be up there.
“They will be disappointed to be where they are but it doesn’t mean it is going to be any easier for us. We have had a good run of home fixtures where we have performed well. Now, we are looking to pick up positive results on the road. I have been really pleased with our away form and performances and this will be another big test.”
Howe is also drawing inspiration from Wanderers’ charge up the table last season – initiated from an identical position to the one they currently occupy in the table.
Bournemouth are currently sitting mid-table, 13 points off the play-of picture and 10 from the relegation zone.
And Howe believes there is still time for plenty to change in the table between now and the start of May for both teams.
“What Bolton did last season shows what can be done by any team in the division,” he told the Bournemouth Echo. “It is still so tight and a lot of clubs, including us, will be looking both ways.
“A really good run of results could see you move up the table and into the promotion race and, likewise, you could be looking nervously over your shoulder if it were to go the other way.
“As Bolton showed last year, this is a great time to put together a run and have a consistent spell so you can enjoy the rest of the season. It can be done and we are well aware what can happen in this division if you get the results that your performances merit. It is a big game for both teams.”