KEITH Hill urged people to keep their heads as Wanderers moved into positive equity with a last-gasp victory against MK Dons.

Though celebrations continued across the weekend after Daryl Murphy’s late winner moved the club on to ‘plus one’ point, the manager added a note of sobriety in his post-match assessment.

Wanderers have won three successive league games for the first time since 2017 and are currently 12 points from safety – but Hill is anxious to keep expectancy to realistic levels.

“I hope we haven’t plateaued out,” he said. “I live in Bolton, I socialise in Bolton – there seems to be this attitude that we should be winning every game from now on. Why?

“I’m not a magician and these players aren’t either and they need protecting, they need encouragement and they need support because they are giving everything.

“Let’s not deal with the propaganda – in the last two seasons we lost 53 games out of 92. Where has it come from?

“What we did, as supporters, last season and the one before, we allowed results to happen while we hide behind the off-the-field turmoil. That’s propaganda.

“There was a great magic trick, smoke and mirrors, over Bolton Wanderers over the last two or three years. We are trying to lift the club out of that into a positive new era. It will be with decent financial housekeeping and working with an honest group of players who are doing everything.

“I love expectation, I love creating it, I’m ambitious and I want the players to win three games on the trot, which is what we’ve done in the league, but that’s my opinion”.

Wanderers are waiting on the verdict of an independent disciplinary commission to see whether they will be handed extra punishment for failing to fulfil a fixture against Brentford, in April, and postponing a game against Doncaster Rovers in August over “welfare concerns” for their younger players.

The club is expecting some points to be taken from their tally – although estimates on the severity of the penalty differ wildly, from three to nine, and the possibility of an appeal has also not been ruled out.

A bullish Hill believes his players can deal with any punishment that comes their way.

“Forrest Gump, what did he say? ‘s*** happens,’” he said.

“We have got to deal with it, chest pumped out, ‘we are Bolton Wanderers’. Nobody is going to kill us or knock us over continually. If we go with that mentality then no matter what happens with the EFL, we’ll be good.”

Hill is keen to keep a lid on rising expectations but is nevertheless delighted with the upturn of results over the last few weeks.

“I am really pleased,” he said. “I am not having a go at anybody. I live in Bradshaw, I go out in the No Name (House Without a Name), so if you want to have a go at me that’s where I sit and drink.”

Wanderers rained 19 shots on the MK Dons goal and had the numerical advantage for the last 25 minutes after George Williams was sent off for pushing substitute Thibaud Verlinden in the face.

The visitors had hit the post in the first half, though ex-Bolton loanee Joe Mason, but sat back to preserve their point towards the end of the match – which raised the level of frustration around the stadium.

Daryl Murphy grabbed the winner, turning home a Luke Murphy cross, just moments after missing a penalty, transforming what had been a fairly grim mood to that point.

“If you can’t win it, don’t lose it,” Hill said. “We might have been a bit frustrated but I didn’t want to throw it away. I have won numerous games with 10 men and I’ve lost against them as well, there’s a frustration, an expectation.

“We missed a penalty, the keeper saved it, deal with it. I love working at this football club, the atmosphere is amazing. The euphoria when we scored that goal – to be able to enjoy it with all the people who’d stayed was magnificent. I’m working for my home town, representing them in this stadium.

“You don’t win every fight that you go into but you have to be prepared to fight. Maybe they didn’t deserve that result based on that performance – but maybe Rotherham, or one of the other games they fought but didn’t win.

“After that game we have made a great statement with the way we have reacted and recovered.”