Bolton Wanderers’ mini-revival offers hopes of a great escape

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Many were writing Bolton Wanderers’ survival hopes off by the end of September. The Trotters had managed just two points from 11 games, and had failed to score in seven on the spin.

However, Phil Parkinson’s men have set about proving the doubters wrong in recent weeks. They’re now four games unbeaten, following a 3-3 draw at Sunderland last night.

That run has also included victory over Sheffield Wednesday – meaning they’ve shed the nerves associated with being a winless side. But it’s not just a case of finally getting results. The Trotters’ recent performances will also have encouraged fans.

Attacking wizardry on Wearside

In that draw at the Stadium of Light, it was all about attacking quality. Despite that early-season goal drought, Bolton have begun to click – becoming the first visitors to score three goals at the Stadium of Light since Manchester United back in April.

Those included a Sammy Ameobi wonder-strike, a battling team goal finished off by Gary Madine, and Karl Henry’s finish from an inch-perfect Antonee Robinson cross.

With both individual quality and smart link-up play, the Trotters now pack a real punch coming forward.

And despite shipping goals on Wearside, the fact they’ve conceded just four goals in as many games before that trip shows they’re much improved from the side who lost 4-0 and 3-0 in consecutive games earlier this term.

Tactical switch could be the key

As for boss Parkinson, he’s suffered a solitary relegation during his 10 years in management – and helped Bradford City establish themselves in League One after winning promotion with the club in 2012-13.

Along the way, the 49-year-old has picked up some serious tactical nous. And that’s been very evident of late. The 3-5-2 system they started the season with had Bolton looking all at sea. But the gaffer has switched to a 4-2-3-1 in the past four games, and it’s helped reverse the side’s fortunes overnight.

With experienced summer signings like Ameobi, Henry and Mark Little also beginning to really show their pedigree, fans at the Macron Stadium have reason to be cautiously optimistic.

Next up for Bolton is a home game against Norwich City on Saturday. Parkinson’s men are 27/10 for victory, while it’s 3/4 in the Double Chance market for the Trotters to make it five matches unbeaten.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.