THE outlook appears bleak for Wanderers as they sit three points from safety with 12 games to play.

Phil Parkinson’s side were beaten heavily by Norwich City and face another tough task at Leeds United this weekend before the international break.

So how can Bolton save themselves from relegation? That’s the question we posed to four supporters in our very first Fans’ Jury. Here’s what they had to say.

The Bolton News:

IT was scarcely believable that virtually the same team that offered such a heartening display against Birmingham on Tuesday would capitulate in such spectacular fashion mere days later against Norwich.

This Jekyll and Hyde form highlights what I see as the fundamental issue with Bolton this year. Phil Parkinson has drawn considerable criticism throughout the campaign, much of it justified. However, the squad's general strength and lack of investment has tied one hand behind his back.

You must ask how much he can be held accountable when he's effectively looked at the midweek performance and said "more of the same," only to be dealt the polar opposite. Ultimately, the players need to have questions asked of them and why the four days since the trip to St Andrews diminished their fight and defensive solidity to such a crushing extent.

The nature of the Norwich defeat was unusual given the Whites have generally upped their game against the better teams this season. Of the six wins we've had, one came against West Brom, one against Derby and two against Birmingham. The key to survival will be performing to this level consistently, and doing so against the weaker sides in the division.

The next match against Leeds appears as though it could be a case in damage limitation, with the emphasis on escaping with a shred of squad morale intact. After that, there's a run of six games that will define our season. Anything less than three wins will likely confirm relegation.

Parkinson will play a critical role in terms of inspiring his men, but it's down to the players to summon the spirit of Birmingham when they step out on the pitch. If they can, anything is possible, but that 'if' is an awfully big one.


HOW can Wanderers save themselves from relegation? This question caused much debate in my house.

My son’s opinion is that we should explore the free agent market, for example Joe Mason, a former player, is available. As is Ricardo Vaz Te. He would also have us play more attacking football as our defence isn’t proving to be too effective.

My husband thinks that we shouldn’t play Josh Magennis as he has a poor work rate so when he plays it’s like we’re only playing with 10 men. He would also give Mark Little a chance. Whilst he might not be the best defender, he will provide more creativity going forward, as our current style of play lacks imagination. We are also playing too many long balls which make it easy for the opposition to defend, this is probably why we’re not scoring any goals – lets keep the ball on the deck and improve our movement between the lines. Obviously, our lack of composure and decision making in the final third has contributed to our inability to score.

My view is that, perhaps, relegation may be the best thing for us. Yes, there will be financial implications, but it may just help us. Being relegated may mean that we lose some players, but these will probably be the ones on higher wages who are costing us the most. This would then give some youngsters the chance to come through and we could consolidate and build from there.

Whatever the outcome of this season what I think would help most is that if the people of Bolton came and supported the team. Yes, our football isn’t pretty, but this is your home town club and they need your support.


SINCE October began, Bolton have managed two wins from 23 games. Half an entire Championship season.

That form, should it continue, will undoubtedly see us relegated. Thinking back to the Preston game last weekend, adjectives describing our performance included abject, dismal and appalling. The same applies to the Norwich game at the weekend. In both matches we were second best in every department and both games, on another day, could’ve finished six or seven-nil. The lack of desire over the course of these 180 minutes is an insult to the fans.

In football, especially when you’re the home side, it doesn’t matter who you’re up against, a certain level of commitment is expected; chasing every second ball, closing down in the final third, putting bodies on the line. The majority of the squad simply didn’t meet these standards, and that is unforgiveable.

Both performances were a far cry from what I saw in Birmingham last Tuesday night, while quality was lacking at times, particularly in the final third, the heart and commitment displayed that night was unquestionable, epitomised by Callum Connolly’s header which ensured our victory. What I can’t understand is how you produce that standard of performance away from home, yet the polar opposite in front of your own fans.

Despite our woeful form and performances over the last few months, most supporters begrudgingly accept that Phil Parkinson will almost certainly be here until at least the end of the season. However, if they can replicate the passion we saw at Birmingham on a regular basis before May 5, then we at least have a fighting chance. Will it be enough? I don’t know, but if the camaraderie between the players is what we’ve been told all season it is, it’s about time that they practice what they’ve preached.


THIS is the million-dollar question, and frankly it seems to be one that Phil Parkinson can’t answer. His options are limited of course due to a lack of strikers, injuries to key players and a fan-base that is quick to criticise his every move.

However, the one strategy he has employed in recent weeks that has received universal backing from fans is that of including Wanderers youngsters in matchday squads. Luca Connell is of course the standout player amongst the current crop of U23s and has shone in the few games in which he has been involved. However, I also believe that the likes of Joe Pritchard, Connor Hall and potentially others amongst David Lee’s side could make the difference going into the final 13 games.

Jason Lowe has been a staple of the side this season and we all know that despite his effort and industry, he is limited going forward. Thus, a midfield of Lowe, Pritchard and Connell would provide all the attributes necessary in my view, simultaneously making us hard to break down whilst being creative. Our strikers, though physical and hard-working, are about as goal-shy as can be, something the pace and natural finishing ability of Hall could remedy.

Connell, Pritchard and Hall could come into the team without the baggage that comes with being part of a struggling side. They will have much more confidence in their own ability given their success at youth level and confidence is a commodity in which we are hugely lacking right now. This is not to say they will be instant game changers, as we saw when young players were used with reckless abandon by Jimmy Phillips in 2016, but we are in the last chance saloon: we have to try something.