Don't write us off yet

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

DEFENDER Sam Ricketts refuses to give up on Wanderers promotion chances this season despite a 15-point gap to the automatic spots.

A first defeat under Dougie Freedman against Ipswich on Saturday was the Whites’ seventh in 20 Championship matches and denied them the chance to move within five points of the last play-off position currently occupied by Watford.

Wanderers have now drifted to 7/1 with the bookies to be promoted straight back to the Premier League and 25/1 to be champions.

But rather than be downbeat, the Wales international is staying positive and confident wins against those teams in the upper reaches of the table can bridge the gap to the top.

Ricketts said: “Anyone who knows this league knows how quickly things change.

“I think we were 15 points off before the Ipswich game and I wasn’t discounting the top two and I won’t be now.

“There are so many games to play. We have to play all the teams who are up there at the moment.

“We are a big scalp to some but we have shown we can beat anyone. We can beat any team and go on a run of four, five, six wins on the spin and then all of a sudden it’s a different picture.

“For the last 10 years we’ve had a fantastic time in the Premier League but a lot of the time it has been us doing the defending.

“Teams come here and get players behind the ball now. All of a sudden we’re having to pass around and break teams down.

“We have to adapt and learn to do that better.”

The passing game is something new boss Dougie Freedman is trying to implement on a more regular basis.

The personnel may change but the Scot wants the style to be consistent.

And Ricketts, who is approaching 100 games for the club, believes it is the right way to go, even if it may take time to adapt fully.

The 31-year-old added: “It’s a passing style and to an extent, like a basketball routine on how we want to set up.

“The fans have to buy into it as well. And in order for them to do that, they understandably want to see results and performances.

“When we’re on the pitch sometimes you have to go back to go forward again, and the fans can see that we’re trying to play in the so-called modern way. With the type of players we have in midfield, we can hurt teams.

“You saw the goal Mark Davies scored and Chung-Yong, Chris Eagles . . . we need to get the ball to them in areas of the pitch where they can do the most damage.

“I enjoy the way he wants us to play and the system he sets out.

“There might be a few teething problems for a couple of people but if we can all start to understand his philosophy I think the future is very bright.”

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