LUKE Murphy’s Bolton Wanderers career may finally be about to get off the ground.

It is somewhat of a mystery that the midfielder, so highly regarded in spells at Burton Albion and Leeds United, has failed to get into the groove since pulling on a Bolton shirt but since scoring at Bristol Rovers a few weeks ago, he has hardly looked back.

Murphy’s CV hints at a player who has plenty more left to give but it is fair to say the environment since he signed a two-year deal at the UniBol in August last year has not exactly been conducive to a footballer trying to hit top form.

If, as expected, he starts against MK Dons, it will be the first time since becoming a Bolton player that Murphy has strung five consecutive starts together.

And that, the 30-year-old admits, is worth its weight in gold.

“I’m definitely enjoying my football at the moment, enjoying playing – it’s not nice when you are not involved, you feel like you can’t really help the lads out,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to be out there and barring the weekend the results have been really good.

“We have been dominating more games than not, playing attacking football, and we’re getting rewards now as well.”

Murphy was one of a handful of senior players who bridged the gap between last season’s living nightmare and the awkward state the club was allowed to enter into the current campaign by the EFL.

With a takeover seemingly imminent, Murphy and Co stepped out against Wycombe thinking the policy of using Under-18s to plug gaps would only be a one-off. Instead, he embarked on a six-game run in which Wanderers conceded 26 goals.

“It was hard, mentally,” he said. “They are young lads and you have to take your hat off to them because they represented the club unbelievably well. It is difficult to put them in a situation like that playing week in, week out, against grown men. They are not physically developed themselves.

“It was tough but we knew it wouldn’t last forever. Things have turned around and things are looking more positive again.

“There’s no finger pointing going on, it’s nobody’s fault, the previous manager and his staff were all in the same boat as the players, which was tough. But it does feel like a proper club now and the fans deserve that, so do the people who work here in the background. The future looks bright with the right man in charge, along with Flicker and the new owners, they have done a really good job.”

Keith Hill may have shipped six on his first game in charge against Rotherham but performances ever since have followed a generally positive trend.

Along with Dave Flitcroft, the new boss has instilled a new wave of positivity inside a club which had been suffering on its feet for some time and Murphy believes the brand of football on offer is also reason to be optimistic.

“They came in after a difficult period but in my opinion it was just what the club needed, someone with clear ideas of how they wanted the team to play,” he said. “We work every day in training on that identity and how we carry ourselves off the field as well, he feels it’s important the way we represent the club.

“It is intense but that’s how he wants us to play and the lads have bought into it and bar the Rotherham game it has been high pressing attacking football, which I hope the supporters are quite happy with too.”

Hill has been uncompromising in his view of how the game should be played, and that has placed a pretty high demand on a small squad of players.

“He says to play in his team you have to be able to hit certain targets, running stats, and the only way to do that is put the hard work in,” Murphy said. “You can’t just turn up and do that.

“The lads are working hard and I think we’re reaping the rewards at weekends.

“It hasn’t been easy when you lose more games than you win but you have to dig in as a group and I think we’ve got a good one, pulling in the same direction. It feels like a proper football club, a proper team and we’re looking forward to getting into plus points and catching the teams above us to try and stay in this division.”

Last weekend’s FA Cup first round defeat against Plymouth provided a sobering punctuation mark in all the positivity, which had begun with the victory at Bristol.

“To get that first win was massive,” he said. “We can’t get too comfortable with how we have done, though, and as you saw Saturday it was a bit of a blip. We need to dust ourselves down and realise what went wrong to try and put it right.

“It’s down to us to show it was a blip. We’ve done work trying to rectify things that were wrong in that game but as a team it’s up to us to put it right. MK Dons are a team who are down there and we’re looking to catch them in the end.”