IT has often been a case of quantity, more than quality for Wanderers in front of goal this season.

No team in League One has been busier in the final third than Ian Evatt’s men, who continue to ride high in the expected goals and points tables by virtue of their ever-present attacking menace.

But a closer look at the shooting stats show where Bolton need to show improvement if they are going to continue to challenge at the top end of the table.

Much of the focus after Saturday’s blank at Hillsborough fell on striker Eoin Doyle, a player whose scoring record since 2013 is bettered only by the likes of Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy in the top four divisions.

He came into this season with a career record of a goal every two games in the third tier for Bradford City, Oldham Athletic and Chesterfield, and became the first player to top a dozen goals for Bolton since Michael Ricketts.

Twelve games into the current campaign and it is hard to ignore the fact Doyle is enduring a difficult patch. Now five without a goal, only two of the four he has scored for the Whites this season have been from open play.

Others – most notably Dapo Afolayan – have taken some of the burden off Doyle’s shoulders and though Bolton continue to score freely when they are in the mood, there are signs that their talismanic striker needs to rediscover his best form again.

Looking across all players who play in a similar position and who have featured in at least half of their team’s league games this season, Doyle’s numbers are not especially alarming.

His average of 2.48 shots per 90 minutes is the 10th best in the division, falling behind the likes of Rotherham’s Michael Smith (3.9), MK Dons’ Troy Parrott (3.8) and Sunderland’s Ross Stewart (3.2).

Factoring all attacking positions, including wingers, his output does drop lower than Dapo Afolayan, who registers a very healthy 3.8 shots per 90 minutes, but it would certainly be harsh to describe Doyle as ‘shot shy’.

It then becomes a matter of accuracy. Doyle averages 0.8 shots on target per 90 minutes, according to, which puts him at the lower end of his striker peers – 16th among those who have played six or more games as a central striker.

Leading that particular list is Ipswich Town’s Macauley Bonne (1.9), followed by Rotherham front man Smith (1.7) and Plymouth’s Ryan Hardie (1.6).

Again, if you then expand that to all the attacking positions, including wingers, using the same appearance parameters, Dapo Afolayan is Bolton’s best represented player at an average of 1.1 per game. Elsewhere in the squad, Wanderers have reasonable returns in the shape of Antoni Sarcevic (0.7), Kieran Lee (0.66) and Josh Sheehan (0.64), suggesting the workload is spread out into the midfield positions.

But while Rotherham United (182) are the only club to have put more shots on goal than Wanderers (172), collectively, they have struggled to put them on target.

As a percentage of the total shots on goal, Evatt’s side have put 28.3 per cent on target, not including penalty kicks. Only Charlton (26.9), Burton Albion (27.6) and Wycombe (28.1) rank lower, according to StatsBomb.

One statistic that might explain some of Doyle’s frustration is in the number of blocked shots, where he ranks first among League One’s out and out strikers and fourth among all attacking players with an average of 0.9 per game and 10 in total. Interestingly, of those who have had more shots blocked, two are his team-mates – Afolayan (1.4 per 90 mins) and Sarcevic (1.1).

Unsurprisingly, Wanderers have had more shots blocked than any other in League One (59), compared to Burton Albion (54) and Plymouth (51), which may be as the result of some of the deeper-lying opponents they have faced, particularly at the UniBol.

Even if an effort is blocked on the goal line, it is common for it to be logged as a ‘off target’ during games, which can give a slightly skewed version of events. This was certainly the case on Saturday at Hillsborough where both Doyle and Sarcevic had shots blocked well by Wednesday defenders which would have hit the back of the net, but the official count left Bolton with just one shot on target all day.

Evatt rightly poins out that Wanderers have manufactured chances in every game they have played this season, and that provides the basis for him refusing to over-react to results like the one at Wednesday.

It is now up to Doyle and the rest of the squad to reward him for his faith by getting back on the goal trail against Wigan Athletic.