SINCE Wanderers rescued their Championship status in the final few minutes of last season, there has been something missing when they set foot on home turf.

Though The Killers, Little Mix and a quartet of rugby league clubs were able to put fans on their edges of their set at the University of Bolton Stadium, entertainment has been at a premium when the real action got started, and Phil Parkinson’s team took the field.

It is a fact not lost on the manager himself. After scrapping for a point at Portman Road on Saturday he made a point to his team that the same passion needed to accompany the team to home games.

“We have only lost one game away from home in the league this season and we now need to create that same intensity at home,” he told The Bolton News.

“We’ll work on that for the whole of this week. We need to up the ante of our home performances because we haven’t quite reached the same heights that we have away from home, and we need to start against Derby.”

Wanderers have been impressively resolute on their travels, beating West Brom and Reading, matching Preston and Ipswich, and running Middlesbrough close despite a fairly turgid first-half display.

Yet at home, memories of the point against Bristol City or the slender victory against Birmingham have been usurped by defeats to Sheffield United and QPR, characterised by some unadventurous football.

There is a strong case to suggest Parkinson’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system suits playing away, when the onus to attack is heavier on their hosts. Yet over the course of the last two games on the road, Wanderers have managed just two shots on target – both in the second half at Boro. And that has also coincided with the absence of Sammy Ameobi with an ankle injury.

With the former Newcastle United winger in the side, Bolton average 10.75 shots per game, and 3.75 on target. Without Ameobi, that is reduced to 7.8 shots per game, and 2.4 on target.

There is little margin for error when you consider Wanderers’ average of 9.1 shots per game is only fractionally better than the division’s most shot-shy side, Swansea City (9.0). Their average of 8.5 shots per game at home, however, is the lowest in the Championship by some way.

A common thread among the supporters’ debates is that Parkinson sets his side out ‘not to lose’ at home. At times, there has been a perceived lack of balance in the three central positions, fought out between Jason Lowe, Gary O’Neil, Joe Williams, Luke Murphy, Erhun Oztumer and Josh Vela.

The lack of penetration from midfield was most evident against QPR, where Wanderers looked ill-at-ease with having the majority of possession.

Parkinson has placed heavy emphasis on his wide players to get up in support – and beyond – the central striker. And it is this area, particularly without Ameobi, which has suffered most over the last few games.

The signing of veteran wide man Lloyd Dyer on a short-term deal yesterday could be a concession from the Bolton boss that he lacked any obvious replacement. On announcing his arrival, Parkinson also highlighted the 36-year-old’s ability to play as a left wing-back, which hints he is also considering a change in system to factor in at least one of his summer signings, Jack Hobbs and Marc Wilson, at centre half.

Though much has been said about Bolton’s problems in an attacking sense, numbers suggest they are not shutting up shop at all. No team has given up more shots on goal than Wanderers at home – their average of 15.3 towering above second-placed Sheffield Wednesday on 13.8. Away from home the average is only slightly reduced to 15.2, which ranks fifth overall.