THE promotion permutations were discussed in every beer garden and on every social media platform Bolton has to offer – but precious few of them involved defeat at Grimsby.

Despite all the warnings about an opposing team which had improved under a new manager and pushed high-flyers like Salford and Cheltenham all the way, three points at Blundell Park was perhaps seen as a natural progression towards sealing a top three spot against Carlisle United, or maybe Morecambe.

MJ Williams concedes the Wanderers dressing room was not impervious to such speculation in the build up to the weekend, nor will it be in the hours ahead of Tuesday night’s must-win game.

“That’s the tough part,” the midfielder said. “You hear from everywhere ‘you can win it here, you can win there’ but we can only put the focus on winning the game itself. You do that and it all takes care of itself.

“There have been so many twists and turns already and there will be more again. Teams are dropping points that you wouldn’t expect.

“We have to believe in ourselves. You have to block out what plans other people are making for you, it has to be concentration on business.

“We have done amazingly to get into this position but we won’t be happy until it is done.

“We have put ourselves right up there now but it is not good enough unless we get promotion, and that starts with Tuesday and Carlisle United.”

Wanderers still have their fate in their own hands but with a trip to fourth-placed Morecambe to come at the weekend they can ill-afford to drop points against a Carlisle side which has rediscovered some consistency after a difficult February and March.

The Whites reacted well to a head-scratching defeat at Newport County earlier in the month and Williams reckons the dressing room resilience will be able to deal with mounting pressure to avoid the play-offs.

“For me, I focus on the next game and try to approach it as a normal game,” Williams said.

“We know there is a lot at stake but we can’t get too carried away with the emotion of it all because otherwise you start doing stuff you are not used to doing.

“Grimsby were tough. We know they were fighting to stay in the league and it is exactly what the gaffer said to us. But we have to brush it off and go again Tuesday. The last time we lost a game we bounced back from it and so we have to do that again.”

Questions were asked on Saturday as to how much some players had left in the tank after a gruelling season, and an intense victory at Salford the previous Tuesday.

Williams argues that the adrenaline of a promotion battle should see the players through and fuel a determination to bounce back with a win on Tuesday night. He said: “I didn’t feel it, personally, and I don’t think the other lads did either. We know the position we are in and you can get the energy up for it no matter what.

“It is still in our hands and stay together like we have since I have been here. The team has been brilliant, and we have put ourselves into a position to get this done.

“It is a big game on Tuesday now, so all eyes are on that.”