IT may be random data generated by a computer with a few scant parameters thrown in for good measure but you’d have to be a robot not to feel a tingle of excitement when the new season’s fixtures are released.

Every fan, up and down the land, checks off who their team plays on the first and last days, around Christmas, and when the local derbies come into play.

And almost to a man they try to assess where the points will come from; a relatively pointless exercise but nonetheless one that keeps us busy until the pre-season friendlies arrive.

This year is different for Wanderers. The first focus will be for the team to reach positive numbers, and even with a perfect start that can only currently happen four games into the new campaign. Should the EFL lump further points punishment, we may be looking at the end of August at the very earliest before we can get rid of the minus sign.

And so this fixture list might well be worth scrutinising. It may be worthwhile setting a target to get back into the land of positive numbers, if only to focus hearts and minds on the fact this is no ordinary campaign for Bolton.

If, by the time Wanderers go to Rotherham on September 14, for example, the club can be in positive numbers, I would be more than pleased.

So much will depend on the speed at which new owners can get appointed, and how quickly they can set in place their football plans. At a conservative estimate, a dozen new players are needed and that is before the thorny issue of a managerial structure is tackled.

Will Phil Parkinson be given a chance to carry on, given his knowledge of the club? Or will a fresh start suit everyone concerned?

A minimum 12-point head start for the rest of the division may also come into the new ownership’s thinking when setting a budget for this season. Would it be wise to push the boat out too far knowing promotion is far harder to achieve? Or do you dare to dream?

At least the fixture computer has been relatively kind on away travel, with only a couple of long-distance midweek trips to tackle.

The 380-mile round trip to Wycombe can be negotiated while there is still a swell of enthusiasm in the stomach for the new season and the equally arduous journey to Ipswich can be done on a Good Friday, with time to recover.

The two Rovers – Doncaster and Bristol – are also pencilled in as midweek trips, which isn’t the toughest travelling itinerary in the world.

We all know cup ties and TV will change all that, but for one day at least, let’s enjoy it.

Christmas does not present a massive problem either on the transport front, and a Boxing Day game at Sunderland sounds bracing enough to blow away any Christmas hangovers.

That solitary away game interrupts a hat-trick of home fixtures against Southend, Shrewsbury and Burton – the latter looking to preserve an unbeaten record against Wanderers.

And what better way to finish the season than under the dreaming spires of Oxford next May? One can only hope by that point Wanderers have learned their lessons, revised their targets and will be studying towards a brighter future.