Darren Pratley wants to see Bolton Wanderers hit a home run
AFTER being caught out by two Ipswich sucker punches last season – Darren Pratley is warning Wanderers to be on their guard at the Reebok tomorrow.
In a fixture that has a rich history of late goals and drama, it was Michael Chopra and Carlos Edwards who supplied the knockout blows for Mick McCarthy’s men in the Whites’ first term back in the Championship.
Pratley doesn’t want any unexpected surprises this time around but while Dougie Freedman has highlighted a “Reebok fear factor” that seems to be upsetting his players at home recently, the midfielder insists the mood in the camp is a bullish one.
“They got late goals last season and we know they are a tough side,” he told The Bolton News. “Mick McCarthy has got them organised, just like he did at Wolves.
“But we’re going into it four unbeaten. We want to get that first home win to kick-start the season but usually when a team is low on confidence you find players are hiding. That isn’t the case here, not even in training.
“I think it’s similar to last season about this time when we were on a bad run before the manager came in. We turned it round then and we can do that again.”
The optimism that followed the victory over Birmingham City – of which Pratley was a part – and into the international break was tempered by a trying stalemate against Sheffield Wednesday last time out.
And so the pressure again builds on Dougie Freedman and his side to start moving back in the right direction against an Ipswich team who have yet to win away from Portman Road in the league this season.
Pratley is still convinced the season does not have to be about mere survival.
“Despite where we are at the moment, we are still confident we can get into the play-offs,” he said.
“We haven’t written ourselves off despite not getting back-to-back wins.
“In this league there are still 90-odd points to play for.
“Teams at the top will have a dip and hopefully if we can turn draws into wins we can climb up and reduce the gap.
“It may be a blessing in disguise that we have had our bad run early on, who knows?
“Putting together a consistent run can easily get you into the top six in this league.”