HIS men have now set themselves a bar, and if Wanderers are to dig themselves out of the hole they still find themselves in, they cannot dip below it again, said Phil Parkinson.

The manager was as pleased with their efforts at QPR as he was appalled by the performance at Wigan.

And with what is, on paper at least, their easiest match of the season, coming up at home to an Ipswich side surely sliding into League One, Parkinson insists there can be no place for complacency.

“Without a doubt people will start to dream if we beat Ipswich,” he said following the 2-1 win at QPR.

“And it’s up to us to build on it, we’ve got to make sure we don’t look at it and say ‘oh, Ipswich are below us, we’ve just got to turn up and beat them’, because wins are so hard to get.

“Look at how hard the lads have had to fight for this victory – and we’ve got to take that into next week, and be solid and tight as a team first and foremost.

“I’m very pleased with them, the manner of the display and the support we got from the fans as well, right from the first minute to the last and I thank them for that.

“We had a good meeting with the lads and spoke about blocking everything else out, not looking at the league tables, just concentrating on keeping that consistency in our performance individually and collectively and we’ll see where that takes us.

“We’ve closed the gap but we’re not going to get too carried away with that, it was just so important for Bolton Wanderers and this group – after getting beat by our local rivals two weeks earlier – to respond in the right way, and we’ve done that “

With Jason Lowe ruled out of the midfield through injury, the three-man engine room came in for particular praise – with Callum Connolly getting plaudits for his winning goal, and mentions for Gary O’Neil for tightening up the centre of the pitch and Joe Williams for his all-round, all-action performance.

“I think you saw back in us today, that with Gary making that extra man in the midfield, it helped us a lot and we just had to make sure we’re not too loose and we don’t give the opposition too many chances like we did at Wigan,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of time for Joe, he cares so much, he was excellent with and without the ball. The modern-day midfield player has got to be able to do all sides of the game and he showed he can do that.”

Parkinson has been no stranger to trying circumstances during his time at Bolton. But even he must have endured sleepless nights as the club’s future hung in the balance.

This week alone has seen an adjournment in the High Court, more takeover uncertainty, a players’ strike over the latest delayed wages and the possibility that tomorrow’s fixture could be prevented from going ahead by the Safety Advisory Group.

But all that can now take a back seat as the Ipswich clash looms into view, and the chief motivator is homing in on securing their first back-to-back wins since August.

“Let’s keep it going, the QPR win has given us a huge lift as we start building towards next Saturday,” he added earlier in the week.

“That’s the key, we feel that, with everything going on and with the Wigan defeat, we have restored that pride, we needed to do that for ourselves as well.

“When you’ve got two weeks to wait for the next game [due to the international break after the Wigan defeat] as well it’s a long time, so it’s been a slow burner waiting for this game to come.

“We’re pleased that come three o’clock at QPR the mood and the mentality was what we needed it to be.”