SYMPATHY, if not complete agreement, has been reserved for last weekend’s player strike but Andy Taylor hopes Sunday’s curtain call at Nottingham Forest can signal the end of a sad chapter in Wanderers’ history.

Last weekend’s game against Brentford, postponed after first team players refused to play, has left an indelible mark on English football.

Bolton fans, numbed by a constant stream of negative, may not appreciate the world-wide impact the decision to down tools actually had, nor indeed the embarrassment caused to the upper echelons of the game.

A band of 400-or-so will head to the City Ground in duty, if not excitement, for a game that should have been a punctuation mark on a truly wretched campaign.

There may yet be an encore, if somehow circumstances align and allow Wanderers to replay the Brentford match on Tuesday, but where Taylor and the first team dressing room is concerned, this is an opportunity to return to some normality and to acknowledge the unwavering support the players have received in the last eight months.

Speaking to The Bolton News, the full-back who has been thrust as shop steward to be the public voice of the squad in troubled times, acknowledges the impact this has had on the loyal fans of the club.

“In a roundabout way, we feel like this game can bring people together,” he said.

“We didn’t play Saturday, we felt that made our point. We created an awareness and hopefully that leads to a quicker resolution to all of this.

“If the authorities – the EFL, the FA, whatever – act that little bit faster now, or if we’ve prompted them into action to deal with Bolton Wanderers, then it has been worth it.

“But we felt we had to play this weekend against Forest.

“We are footballers, we want to play football, and the group recognise there has been enough disruption for the fans. Nobody wants this to impact on them any more than it already has done.

“Football supporters want success for their club but first and foremost you want to be proud of your team and this season there has been too much negativity around. It must have been tough to be a fan and that has had a knock-on effect to the whole community of Bolton. The whole town has suffered.

“The lads want to play this game and then hopefully it will be the start of some stability.”

Perhaps never before has the outcome of a game mattered so little to Wanderers, although opponents Forest will be looking for a third successive victory to send their own supporters into the summer happy.

Already relegated, there won’t be a fraction of the drama encountered when the two sides met on the final day of last season – a sun-kissed afternoon at the UniBol that now seems an eternity ago.

Even as Phil Parkinson’s side trained this week in preparation the future of the club was in flux – the hotel closed, staff unpaid, the ugly tug-of-war between Ken Anderson and Laurence Bassini still un-won.

Taylor makes no excuse for the team failing to stay in the division.

“We have come up short,” he admitted.

But he does ask that the working environment – particularly over the last few months – is taken into consideration when people assess why Wanders will be playing League One football next season.

“We have felt completely helpless. We have been in the middle of this mess and been asked to perform out there to the best of our ability every week, which is difficult when you literally feel like you’re in the dark over it all.

“As players, we’ve relied on the media for information, we haven’t been given any inside track on anything. And that just adds to the anxiety.

“Fans haven’t been directly affected by wages but this is their club and so I think by going on strike we were making a point for them too. What are the EFL doing, or not doing about it? Who is looking after Bolton Wanderers’ future if this kind of thing is just brushed under the carpet?

“I know It was a drastic step but we felt there was no other way we could get our point across.”