Craig Davies is like a new player at Bolton Wanderers

Craig Davies has looked sharp in pre-season and the first few games

Craig Davies has looked sharp in pre-season and the first few games

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , sports writer

WANDERERS defender Matt Mills is backing Craig Davies to continue his early-season scoring form at Brighton tomorrow.

The former Barnsley striker has started all three Championship games so far this campaign, getting the nod ahead of Jermaine Beckford against Watford, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough.

And two goals, including one in the Capital One Cup victory against neighbours Bury, has vindicated boss Dougie Freedman’s faith in the 28-year-old who spent the second half of last season on loan at Preston.

Davies’ return to the fold may have raised a few eyebrows amongst the Wanderers faithful.

But as someone who similarly came in from the cold to feature prominently for the Whites last season, Mills is pleased for Davies.

He said: “The hunger was there from the first day of pre-season – you could see he was looking to make a statement.

“He has been rewarded by the manager. We have a manager who rewards honesty and you can never point a finger at anyone in our team who ducks away. “You stand up and be counted and Craig has certainly done that.

“Joe (Mason) coming in complements the way he plays.

“Having that kind of movement around him helps. He has been fantastic.”

The goals may be coming for Davies but Wanderers are still leaking them at the other end and are yet to keep a clean sheet in four league and cup matches this campaign.

It is a statistic that annoys new vice-captain Mills, particularly after the back line looked more solid in pre-season following the additions of Dean Moxey, Kevin McNaughton and Dorian Dervite.

Mills is looking for a return to that stubborness on the south coast tomorrow.

He added: “We just need to keep the back door shut a bit more because I believe we have goals in us to win games.

“When you are on top of the game it would be great to kill it off with two or three goals.

“That's not really my mindset during the game. It is very much the performance and try to effect the people around me and doing our job of trying to keep the back door shut.

“We have got to take responsibility and we are not doing that.

“It comes as an individual and it comes as a collective.

“We will work on it but we need to get the balance right between defending and attacking.

"We are strong defensively but little things don't seem to be falling our way.

“That's difficult to take. There are no complaints though. We need to work on it for sure.

“It's not a lack of desire to keep the ball out of the net, trust me it hurts me more than anyone when the ball goes in the back of the net.

“We need to keep working on it in training and it would be very nice to keep a clean sheet.”

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