KEITH Hill is willing to be the bad guy if it means getting Wanderers’ fitness levels up to scratch.

Four weeks into the job, the Bolton boss is making progress on the shape and organisation of his team and the introduction of a completely new style of play.

After conceding a deluge of goals at the start of the season the flow has been reduced to a trickle, and goals have started to emerge, albeit slowly, after a barren start to the campaign.

Hill accepts, however, that the team he hastily constructed days after his appointment has yet to hit the physical shape needed to achieve consistent results.

To remedy the problem he intends to step up the workload in training in the build-up to the Blackpool game and push players harder than he normally would do at this stage of October.

“Nothing worth doing is easy,” he told The Bolton News. “All the players have a good attitude and they are all-in. They will have to go through some pain and they might get a bit upset with me because I am going to ask them to do more, not less. But if you want to be a winner you have to do more.

“We have to get to a stage where we don’t fear running and we’re not trying to save something. Selfless running is so, so important, it’s the biggest component, as we as a group need to be fitter, fitter, fitter. When we are we will be a miles better team.

“We are nearly a good team but I want us to be a great team in League One. We will be if those players stick to the task.”

Wanderers have scored just one second-half goal in five games since Hill took charge, an indication of the physical deficit they still need to bridge.

Hill feels his players have kept something back in recent weeks and has called for them to push harder.

“Players don’t like being stressed,” he said. “It brings out anger, it brings out emotion, but the fitter you become the less stress you put yourself under, the more clearly you can think. We have to quickly get to that.

“There is no quick formula. We are all experts in this game but you can’t tell me any quicker route to football fitness other than stressing in training and playing games. We can’t just play 60-minute games and try to preserve energy.

“I want the players to run out of gas and then find something deep in their heart or lungs to go again.

“You find yourself in moment of fatigue doing some unbelievable things. Players who do stretch themselves will become fitter and robust and more attuned to the demands of playing League One football.”

Space has opened up in the next fortnight, with just one game to play before the October 19 league meeting with Rochdale. Hill intends to ensure his players are better equipped for the challenges ahead.

“They are not as fit, as a group of players, as the opponents they have played against this season,” he said. “It was evident against Rotherham, which was a big shock to my system. All week we’d been training against each other and I’d seen decent levels of fitness but when we came up against them it was men against boys, fitness wise.

“It was evident against Rochdale as well. They are a fit team who play the right way and we more than matched them in that first half but we ran into fatigue again. That means you lose concentration, make mistakes, give the ball away.

“I have to stress these players now or else they are never going to be able to do it my may.

“I am four weeks into trying to get the players to do it my way. In an ideal world you get three seasons – but you’ll never get that these days, will you?”