KEITH Hill feels something of the identity he is trying to create at Wanderers came out in the 0-0 draw against Oxford United.

Although Bolton failed to find the goal their free-flowing football deserved, most onlookers were impressed with the improvement made after the weekend’s humbling at Rotherham United.

Hill continues to shift the focus away from results for the time being as he moulds a squad of relative strangers but was pleased an entertaining 90 minutes had been a step forward.

“I enjoyed it – although I feel like I played the game,” he said. “I tried to get information on the pitch, things we’d been working on in training, the way we want to play in and out of possession.

“There was an identity I tried to create, I have created, and it was evident on Saturday. Ignore the scoreboard. I am fortunate not to get involved in the emotional rollercoaster of football.

“The players are getting fitter, they are responding to the work we’ve done on the pitch. They are responding to the information, not too much overload. We’re looking for small gains, building blocks.

“I am not too concerned with the scoreboard, just my eye. I want to see the team develop and I feel like they are doing that but I’m not a magician.”

Hill had words of praise for his defence and goalkeeper Remi Matthews, who had come under pressure in some quarters following some heavy recent defeats.

“If anyone needs a reward it’s the goalkeeper,” said the Bolton boss. “He has been super exposed, I had a great chat with him, and I think we’ve got a clean, competent, confident performance from him tonight. And I think the players in front of him tonight were magnificent.”

Thibaud Verlinden, Ali Crawford and Dennis Politic provided a potent attacking platform for Wanderers – with Will Buckley used effectively down the middle.

The quartet played especially well in the first half, where Bolton could easily have put themselves out of sight with better finishing.

Hill was happy to see progress and feels his players are buying into what they are being asked to do.

“We created chances and that’s rewarding but there are two sides to the game, you have to defend while you are attacking and attack while you are defending,” he said.

“I think we did it OK today. There’s room for massive improvement. We’re not complete but we are fighting.

“We’re on the ropes, we’ve taken some punches but we’ve got enough energy to punch back. Every time the bell rings we’re getting a little bit of rest and then we’re building more energy as a team.

“We’ll protect against more injuries, fatigue injuries, and that’s why Thibaud had to come off. He was telling us, we weren’t asking him. We want to make sure he’s ready for Sunderland.

“We are still fighting and that tells me that these players want to play for Bolton Wanderers, they want to create this identity with me and David (Flitcroft). They want to engage with the supporters.

Wanderers’ fans also seemed appreciative of the performance, with players given warm applause at the final whistle.

“I think if you are a supporter watching us you can see we’re trying to transform the previous identity we were playing in,” Hill said.

“They have been magnificent. I know it hurts when you get beat but I am trying to ignore the scoreboard, even tonight, I’m just trying to build processes, improve what we’re doing in possession.

“Hopefully with the players we have got we’ll become hard, game ready, a little bit of fear will drop into the opponents. I don’t like the word ‘hope’ because we plan meticulously, and we’ll continue to do that.”