EVERYONE, it seems, has a theory on what Phil Parkinson should change in order to remedy Wanderers’ woes.

Hypotheses offered vary in exactness, from the need to tell his side to ‘create more’ or ‘stop playing hoof ball to Madine,’ to bringing Adam Le Fondre back into attack or ‘switching to 4-4-2 and playing wingers.’

Most have merit. But sadly no singular decision is going to make the Whites into a winning team. At present, perseverance is their best bet on the pitch, and faith is the only fall-back off it.

Parkinson has experimented just as far as his embargo-blighted squad will let him. The one time it clicked – in the Carabao Cup against Sheffield Wednesday – the players lacked the requisite energy to replicate their solitary victory against a decent Derby County.

Injuries, minor and major, have cropped up at inopportune times. And even after a relatively encouraging performance in defeat against Sheffield United on Tuesday night, Will Buckley’s hamstring problem means he will have to make changes again at Portman Road this weekend.

Longer-term absentees have had an even more profound effect. Parkinson has missed injured midfield lynchpin Josh Vela immensely, and Sammy Ameobi’s absence has also deprived the squad of its most unpredictable player. Both should return to regular action by the end of next month but the Bolton boss desperately needs to give faltering fans something to cling on to before then.

The frustration felt among Wanderers fans at present is entirely understandable. Last season’s promotion has not, as was hoped, had a knock-on effect on early results and memories of that sun-kissed afternoon against Peterborough in late April are starting to fade.

The vast majority of supporters were realistic enough to know the Championship was not going to be a cake walk but after watching their team lose their first four home games for only the third time in their history, it is natural that people are looking for answers. Parkinson is experienced enough to know he needs to find them before the balance is tipped.

Dropping Darren Pratley against Sheffield United was perhaps the manager’s first concession to public opinion. The club captain has undoubtedly struggled to recreate the form he showed when reintroduced to the team after a seven-month absence with a broken leg in League One. And he is certainly no stranger to coming under fire from a Bolton crowd, having spent seven years in the doghouse.

In taking Pratley out of the team, however, Parkinson has also lost a lot of physicality in the centre of the park – and one wonders if Wanderers can afford to be lightweight when they travel to Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich this weekend, knowing his teams of old?

Parkinson knows any decision he makes with the club sitting bottom of the table will be picked apart and disagreed in some quarter, particularly in these days of endless social media. He just has to keep the faith that one of them will come off.

Burton remain just three points away in 21st place, which would still represent a considerable success at the end of the season considering the circumstances Parkinson and his staff have worked within over the past 14 months. If they can keep within striking distance until January, at which time it would be reasonable to think the embargo will be lifted, maybe then we can judge him in a fairer light?