JAY Spearing believes the fear of repeating last season’s Championship disappointment will drive Wanderers on to a much better campaign this time around.

After winning just one of the opening 13 games last term, Dougie Freedman’s side simply gave themselves too much to do in order to get back into the play-off picture.

Consistency remained a problem on the pitch, while injuries in key positions and a rift behind the scenes between coaching staff and some of the fringe players also took its toll.

Spearing, who has just been appointed captain once again for the coming campaign, reckons the dressing room is now stronger than it was 12 months ago and that it will avoid the mistakes of last season.

“I can’t speak for everyone,” the midfielder told The Bolton News. “But from my point of view, what happened last season has been very much on my mind. We know we can’t afford to make the same sort of start again.

“If we’d got it right earlier, if we hadn’t started as poorly as we did, I think we would have finished a lot higher. I think we would have got in the play-offs.

“The size of this club, the management and coaching staff we have got, the stadium and the fanbase we’ve got – that should be the minimum expectation. It can’t happen again.”

Wanderers continued their warm-up to the August 9 kick-off against Watford with a 1-1 draw at Tranmere Rovers last night, with Spearing opening the scoring midway through the second half.

The former Liverpool star believes this season’s squad, supplemented by half a dozen new signings so far, is a stronger unit than it was at this stage last year.

“You can sense there is a togetherness,” he said. “And from the minute we’ve been in, everyone has worked their socks off.

“We know what went on last season. We know it wasn’t good enough. We know this year we’ve got to try and hit the ground running.

“Even when things weren’t going right last year I thought we stuck together well as a whole. Nobody likes to be in that kind of situation but we stayed strong and that will help us.

“This year we’ve kept that. A lot of younger lads have come through but we’re not treating them like kids – we’re treating them like grown men. They know they are going to have to fight in this division to get anywhere.

“We all know it is going to be a scrap but I think we’re in it together.”