CHRIS O’Grady is winning the battle with his critics at Bolton Wanderers – and Keith Hill puts it down to gold old fashioned graft.

After starting in league victories against Bristol Rovers, Fleetwood and MK Dons the experienced front man found the going tougher in the build up to Christmas and was dropped to the bench.

He returned to the starting line-up with a goal in the win against Tranmere, and earned praise for his performance at Coventry City on Saturday, creating a goal for Dennis Politic.

Hill has been delighted to see O’Grady’s upturn in fortune.

“I think he’s relaxed, more comfortable with the environment and working for Bolton Wanderers,” he told The Bolton News. “And for him to score the 100th league goal of his career last week was amazing for him.

“He’s certainly a threat and he’s deserving his place in the side. He works hard – it’s not difficult to see why he’s in there at the moment.

“I thought he was brilliant in the second half against Coventry.”

O’Grady might well lead the line again tonight at Doncaster – and few would argue with his inclusion – but that hasn’t always been the case since he signed from Oldham Athletic last August.

Hill believes his striker has reacted in the right manner after his place in the side came under question.

“I understand the debate on players but they have to silence those people, the critics, the cynics, by performances,” he said.

“I think it’s evident what Chris O’Grady can bring to the table but he has to do it consistently.

“He’s a good foil for Daryl Murphy, I think. He created a great chance for him with the header.”

Hill named an unchanged starting 11 at St Andrew’s and would dearly like to maintain a stable line-up, which has been missing for much of the season.

But the Bolton boss says he will only be able to accomplish that once players’ performances level out/ “We want consistency from the players now, really,” he said. “I want to try and keep that competition for places high with competition for places, and start picking up more points. If we don’t I end up chasing as a manager because you are always looking for that change of fortunes.

“I am still encouraged by the performance (at Coventry) and I believe we’re on the right track, I really do.”