“KEEP calm and carry on” is Phil Parkinson’s message as his side start preparations for their penultimate game of the campaign.
One point from a possible nine has slowed the promotion push to a crawl, yet the Wanderers boss insists there is no reason for panic as his side head to Port Vale this weekend.
Parkinson came in for criticism in some quarters for the tactical approach in weekend defeat at Oldham and the goalless draw against Bury on Tuesday night.
But, speaking to The Bolton News, the manager hopes fans can help his side keep their composure in the final stretch.
“Supporters are only nervous because they care,” he said. “They want it as badly as we want it.
“But we are all in it together. We’re going for the same thing and we’ll give it absolutely everything to get there.
“There is no lack of effort, the lads are giving us everything.
“If something had dropped for us and we’d got a goal against Oldham or Bury this would be a very different conversation
“We’re two points clear and we’ve just got to keep chipping away. Whatever it takes we’ve got to get ourselves over the line.”
Parkinson explained his reluctance to gamble against Bury, where he continued with Adam Le Fondre up front alone until switching to a 4-2-3-1 with 15 minutes to go, bringing on James Henry and Chris Long.
“We got better as the game went on but in the last 15-20 minutes we lost our way a bit,” he said.
“It was a difficult decision to make because we chased it on Saturday, got picked off at beaten on the break.
“As I said after that game sometimes when you really chase it you lose the balance of your team and it’s not the best way to get the winner anyway.”
Having hit the crossbar twice at Boundary Park, Adam Le Fondre repeated the trick against Bury – his effort bouncing down on to the line and out to safety.
Parkinson is confident his side’s luck in front of goal can change in the Potteries and help to reduce some of the tension which has crept into recent performances.
“Points are hard to come by at this stage of the season,” he said. “Maybe something will go in for us at the weekend?
“We need to keep doing the right things, concentrate on working like we have done all season.”
“In games like that the first goal is so important because it would have meant Bury had to change something.
“If we had got that the game would have opened up. We didn’t get that goal so all we can do is keep chipping away.”
Bury boss Lee Clark reckons the tension around the Macron played into his own team’s hands as they held on for a precious point in their survival fight.
“There’s pressure at either end,” said the former Birmingham City boss. “There’s pressure because this is a big club in this division. Getting back into the Championship would be huge for them.
“The fans sensed that, if they get a little bit nervy does that transfer to the players?
“When you come away from home that’s what you do, you play the crowd. That has got to be part of your game-plan.
“You have got to work the crowd so that they make the home team nervous. That’s what we’ve done a little bit.”
Clark admitted his own side had struggled to play their best football but he denied that they had come to protect a point, rather than go for the win.
“We came for the win and always tried to leave two strikers up the pitch. But it’s a really tough place to come, especially because they were going all out for the three points.”