EVERYBODY was bright despite the gloomy start to our long trek to Portsmouth.

There’s a growing feeling among fans, as we emerge from the Dark Ages, that we are in good, proper hands of people who care about football and Bolton Wanderers.

This was the clear message to come out of last Thursday's Supporters' Association meeting with Keith Hill, David Flitcroft and our new CEO, Emma Beaugeard.

When we arrived at Fratton Park, a steward kindly directed us to a gem of a real ale brewery, hidden about two minutes’ walk from the ground, where we enjoyed the 'Staggersaurous' ale and a friendly chat with Portsmouth fans, who are still recovering from the Dark Ages of their own.

It’s not been easy for them having to rebuild from scratch but it had brought the fans together with tremendous support, particularly away from home.

After their near miss on promotion last season, they had sold a couple of key players and had made a slow start this season.

Hill brought Daryl Murphy in for his debut and Yoan Zouma to replace the injured Jake Wright and we were treated to a brilliant first-half performance, where the only thing lacking was goals.

This proved decisive as they must have swapped shirts at half time and Portsmouth dominated the second half and got the all-important goal through Brett Pitman’s header.

Even a missed Portsmouth penalty failed to lift us.

We are going to have to wait a bit longer for that first win under the new regime, but I think that it is a tribute to the hard work being done behind the scenes by all at the Unibol, that we are even thinking of our first win.

Our squad is threadbare with limited options on the bench.

This was only the fourth time that this team had played together. It’s all about rebuilding right now.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will our club be rebuilt in the short term.

We’re starting to have a team that is playing an attacking, crowd-pleasing style of football that should prove competitive at this level.

Injuries and suspensions will really hit our squad over the coming season but the big cloud on the horizon is what punishment the EFL dish out for the Brentford and Doncaster games.

The EFL need to get that sorted and then we will really know where we stand.