An Interview With A Bolton Fan
Ahead of this weekend's trip to Bolton, Quentin X from Vital Bolton was happy to answer a few questions for us.
So with thanks to Mr X.
1) Is the season going as you expected and what has been the highlight and lowlight so far?
I think, in retrospect, it is going exactly as we should have expected. However, I think that as a team that came down from the Premier League, and the press making us one of the favourites, we believed that we would be doing a lot better than we are. And with good reason. Most of the players that we have should be considered to be Premier League players and most have performed disappointingly so far.
I suppose the highlight has to be the win last weekend at Sheffield Wednesday. There was some banter last season as to how well they were doing with our former manager, Gary Megson, and how badly Bolton had treated him, only for Megson to be fired soon after when they were in the play offs. The low light has to be losing to Burnley in our first game and then Crawley in the League Cup straight after. At that point no one looked up for a fight.
2) Any transfer window deals that we might not be aware of, but should look out for?
The summer saw a lot of people leave the club and not many come in and the permanent deals were done early on. Since the loan market opened we have got Jay Spearng from Liverpool. From what we have seen so far, he is too good for this division.
3) Where do you see yourself finishing this season?
Play offs. I know this is an unpredictable league but our weakness is our predictable unpredicatableness. I can't see this manifesting itself into automatic promotion.
4) Where do you see your current weaknesses? Any clues will be greatly welcomed :-)
Ever since Owen Coyle took over, defence has always been an issue and there was a real concern over the central pairing at the beginning of the season. I have a real problem with Zat Knight. I think, for such a large man, he is a poor defender, but he has acquitted himself well this year. So far. If you want to exploit a weakness, try both full backs. Tyrone Mears had a year out and is still coming back to full fitness and Marcos Alonso is positionally naive. Don't let anyone know I told you.
5) Who will be your key dangerman?
Chris Eagles is our leading scorer and has chipped in with three assists as well. He appears to be one of those unfortunate players who are too good for the Championship but not good enough for the Premier league. He is skillfull on the ball and has a dangerous free kick. Some see him as a luxury player, and he was last season. This year he has been head and shoulders above the rest.
6) Where do you see Palace finishing this season?
In this division, anyone can finish anywhere. I don't think Palace will finish towards the top but, being as it's you that's asking, I can't see you getting relegated either. A nice, solid, mid table.
7) What are your thoughts on Dougie Freedman?
I think anyone who remembers Dougie as a footballer will remember a good, honest professional. Therefore, someone who didn't really catch the attention outside his local area, but someone who you would go 'Oh, yeah....Dougie Freedman'. I think he has done that in his season and a bit at Palace. And, to be fair, if you last more than eighteen months in the Palace hot seat, you must be good.
8) If you could take one of our players, who would it be and why?
Our one major failing is that we have a forward line that isn't scoring goals. You have one in Glenn Murray who has scored them throghout his career at a reasonable rate. Personally, if the guy at my local who has one leg can score goals, I'd take him. We're that desperate.
9) Who do you see as our main threat?
I'm going to have to admit not knowing a great deal about Championship players (eleven years in the top flight will do that to you). However, I do know that we were looking at Wilfred Zaha last season, before we bought Marvin Sordell from Watford. He was one of the more recognisable Palace players during the League Cup run and, if he runs at our defence, they will have their work cut out.
10) Where would you say our current weaknesses are in terms of how you will approach the match?
I don't necessarily think that we look for weaknesses, the manager continually telling us that if the players all play to their ability, we will win. Last weekend he looked to get the ball down and if Mark Davies, Spearing and Eagles can take control of the midfield, I don't think we'll have a problem with most teams in the league. The knack is getting them all to work together.
11) Finally, a prediction please...
All through last season I went for a 2-0 Bolton win, regardless of opposition, and lost a bucketload. This season I've gone for 2-1 and am already up. I don't think that will change. We can't keep a clean sheet to save our lives.
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