The Bolton News: Should Wanderers players who did not go on international duty have been fresher last weekend?Should Wanderers players who did not go on international duty have been fresher last weekend? (Image: camerasport)

Give it a rest

by Liam Hatton

IN last week’s article I briefly touched on players returning from international duty, namely Dion Charles, Eoin Toal and Josh Sheehan.

I mentioned how two of those three may be rested, but it ultimately showed how nailed on my predictions are when all of the above started in the 2-1 defeat to Reading.

I mention this because Ian Evatt in turn spoke about the impact of the international break and the effect it has on players in the form of fatigue, which is all well and good for players who have actually been called up by their countries.

“Some of the players looked drained and fatigued. We needed some energy to see the game out”, Evatt said to the club.

“Victor looked really tired, Randell looked physically tired, and bringing on two players of that experience should be enough to see us through.”

However, I admit that I did scratch my head a bit when he referred to individuals who had the week off from actual game time. Now, this is not to say that fatigue does not apply to players who merely train during the week in the absence of a game, but nonetheless it made me wonder how that was the common denominator he took from the game.

To be brutally honest, Bolton blew it - they had chance after chance to put the game away in the first half but could not capitalise. You knew Reading would have a spell in the second half and once they did just that, they punished Bolton with two goals.

It was the issue last season with this team, which Evatt has admitted himself - Bolton do not put away enough of their chances. Yes, they had an electric start to the season, but some of the old habits are creeping back into play in terms of being on top, but the end product lacking that killer instinct.

Since Wanderers netted nine times in their opening three league fixtures, they have scored four times in their last four league games since. Now, obviously 3-0 wins every week is not sustainable in the long run, but there is certainly an argument to be made that the team’s output has not been as clinical as Evatt would like. Victor Adeboyejo being clean through on goal against Reading, only to take a heavy touch instead of just putting his foot through the ball is not down to fatigue, more so a wasted chance.

I have backed Vic and this is not me singling him out because it is the popular thing to do, more so just highlighting one instance in which Bolton should have been out of sight last Saturday.

There were other chances, but it is apparent that the best teams in the league put teams to bed. The teams who want to aim for the playoff lottery will have issues in doing so, which was Bolton’s Achilles heel last season.

It is still a small sample size in terms of this campaign and it is hardly time to press the panic button - regardless of how negative this week’s piece may seem - but Evatt will know that Bolton need to be better in front of goal if they have realistic aims of the automatic slots.

The Bolton News: Bolton Wanderers' Ricardo Santos (right) is shown a yellow card by referee Lee Swabey (left) for a

Referee drove me mad

by Tony Thompson

I AM glad that the temptation to drive all the way to Reading to watch the Wanderers last weekend ended up just being the product of a few glasses of wine and a nice chicken curry.

For a good few minutes I talked myself into idea of heading down to Berkshire, stopping for a pub lunch with the wife and daughter, then leaving them to explore the delights of the town centre while I watched Ian Evatt’s team pass their way to inevitable triumph. Or so it went in my head.

With hindsight, I would have done a 400-mile round trip costing £60 in petrol, the shopping excursion would have cost me another couple of hundred quid, and the result would have left me in a bad mood, swearing under my breath all the way back up the motorway at each and every idiot that appeared on 606, especially Robbie Savage.

The middle ground was watching it on my iPad with a few cans, my night still ruined, but my wallet still relatively full.

I think anyone would say Bolton should have put the game to bed by half time. And what Victor Adeboyejo was doing with the two chances that fell his way in the first half, I don’t know. He seemed to do OK until he got in the penalty box and then he didn’t seem to know what to do with himself.

The referee, Mr Lee Swabey, was something else, though. I cannot for the life of me explain why a red card wasn’t shown for that trip on Dion Charles and imagine the cheek giving a handball the other way!

I am not a referee basher. League One only has part time officials and so you have to give them some leeway. I just wish I felt that Bolton got the rub of the green at least half of the time because I don’t.

When I was younger I used to earn some spare cash refereeing on Thursday nights at the five-a-side place near my university digs. Having sweaty 40-year-old blokes shouting and swearing at you for every decision is enough to put you off for life, so I never made it a profession.

There should be some money put in by the EFL, the FA or the PGMOL to make sure that referees at this level can make it their job because their decisions are costing other people their livelihood.