ANDY Tutte insists Wanderers did not underestimate Grimsby after their long Covid lay-off.

Ian Holloway’s side had not played since September 19 and only returned to the training ground two days before their trip to the University of Bolton Stadium.

Wanderers started as heavy favourites but despite a bright first half, failed to put a single shot on target throughout the game.

A first clean sheet of the season came as little solace to Tutte but the Liverpudlian midfielder denies that Grimsby’s situation took the edge off their performance.

“The lads weren’t even talking about it,” he said. “We’d heard things, read things, but it’s just 11 v 11.

“Yes, we expected to beat them, and I think if we’d got the final pass right or got a goal ahead in the first half we go on and win that game two, three, four to nil.”

Wanderers remain unbeaten this month and though Tutte accepts there is much scope for improvement, he argues that time is on their side.

“We’re very disappointed, of course,” he said. “It’s been a slow start but at the end of the day promotion isn’t won at the start of a season. Come Christmas time, when it’s a busy schedule with a lot of games, you can pick up. I have done it before when I was at Bury. We’d had a dip of form but went on and got promotion.

“We have got a busy month in October and we’ve got four points. There’s five more games and if we do well in them, it puts us right back up the table.”

The expectation on Wanderers to lead from the front stems from their billing as pre-season promotion favourites, and the consistent message from the dressing room over the summer that an immediate return to League One is the aim.

Tutte says the end goal has not changed.

“You shouldn’t be a footballer if you can’t handle the pressure, especially at this club,” he said. “It shouldn’t be in League Two but it is in League Two. We should be the players who put it back in League One.”

The midfielder was substituted 15 minutes before the end of what was his second start in Wanderers colours, and feels he is closing down on full fitness.

“Last week I did 75 minutes and got a bit of cram,” he said. “Hopefully in the next three or four weeks I can get my fitness right – it’s not far off playing 90 minutes.”