KEITH Hill has thanked Wanderers’ fans for what he felt was courageous backing in the goalless draw against AFC Wimbledon.

Despite all the trials and tribulations of late, Bolton virtually sold out their allocation at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.

Hill has himself come in for stern criticism during a run of one victory in 14 games, during which hopes of avoiding a drop into League Two have evaporated.

But the travelling support was behind the Bolton boss on Saturday – quite literally – and he made a point of commending their part in the result.

“I think the players have supported me really well with that performance but the supporters as well, there was absolutely no negativity, they were absolutely amazing,” he told The Bolton News.

“They are showing a lot of courage coming down to Wimbledon and they are backing us every step of the way. The players like that and they take inspiration from it.

“I’m relatively pleased with the performance but it doesn’t really affect the position we’re in, other than the fact it is a confidence builder for the players.”

Such was the proximity of the Bolton fans to the dugout at Wimbledon’s cosy headquarters, every moan and groan would have been clearly audible to Hill and his staff.

But the Bolton boss says he has been encouraged by the backing he has had at home and away since coming to the club in August and continues to see little live evidence of discourse.

“There seems to be a lot of pretend negativity,” he said. “And on matchdays there is none.

“I came out and the fans were applauding. It isn’t like the first game I played when we went to Rotherham when we had no relationship – there was no fault and no mistakes. But for the supporters to embrace me today and give me the opportunity to embrace them back, that’s almost better than it was against Rotherham on that first day of the season. I’ll remember this.

“Football does a lot to your emotions, it does. It can be a ruthless game and it doesn’t allow for time.

“The fans have been magnificent whenever I have stepped on to the pitch or in the dugout, home or away, even though they get frustrated. They are allowed to because of the situation and the way the whole season has developed. But we will have to stick together.”

Hill was also happy to see some of the work he had put into his players during the week pay dividends on the pitch.

“Ryan Delaney and Toto Nsiala were brilliant,” he said. “Some of the things we’ve worked on were there – the two number fours sitting in front of the defence against a direct side.

“Last week was something to build on, this is something to build on, and it gives the players a little bit of belief going into Tuesday.”