Were your expectations high for this season after last year?
Yes and no. For the first two thirds of the season we were flying, playing decent football and getting results. However the way the team capitulated after the Stu Holden injury was very worrying. Because we were supposed to have Stu back, and for some reason we're not a football team without him, I was optimistic coming into the season. In retrospect though, the run of results isn't shocking.
How do you feel Owen Coyle has done since taking over?
Once again the answer is mixed. Coyle is an incredible man-motivator and just generally charismatic, something the club desperately needed after Megson. While that's good, he has proved himself to be clueless tactically speaking. When things are going well it's great, but when they're not he seems lost and has no ideas on how to fix the situation. He is still a young manager and I think if he improves on this weakness, he could be a great manager.
Who has impressed you most this year from Bolton?
Can I answer no one? There is not one player who has performed consistently this season. I suppose in a pinch I would say Petrov, as he's been our only creative outlet in a lot of games, but his work rate is poor as is his spirit. If a game's not going well, he goes completely quiet. He also fails to track back to help the beleaguered Paul Robinson, making the left our weaker side.
Where will your goals come from, now you no longer have Elmander or Sturridge?
That is a good question, and the short answer is that they're not. Coyle did make several signings with the aim of addressing that (Kakuta, Ngog) and Ivan Klasnic did have a good run at the beginning of the season, in many games the midfield hasn't kept enough possession to give the strikers a chance at scoring. I wouldn't say we miss Elmander that much, but we're definitely missing Sturridge.
How do you feel about your season so far?
It's been bad. When the fixture list came out, we knew we wouldn't have many points after facing 5 of the top 6 teams in the first 7 games, but what we did expect was performances and we haven't gotten those. Like the end of last season, the team seems out of ideas on how to play football. It's been painful to watch and even more painful to write about. All we can hope is that the team took the international break to put that behind them.
Do you feel you have performed better than is shown?
No, unfortunately, in fact some results have made matches look closer than they were (2-1 loss to Norwich for example). There have been very few bright spots in any performance so far.
Where will do you feel you will end the season?
I'm going to stick with my preseason prediction of upper mid-table. I think we will bounce back from this because the club does have character. The next 3 fixtures will be huge though, if we can't get points off Wigan, Sunderland, and Swansea things will look very dire indeed.
There is of course, a local rivalry between Wigan and Bolton, do you feel it is up there with the big derbys?
To be frank, no, and this is for several reasons. Both clubs have low attendance (in the average attendance table last season Bolton came 18th and Wigan 19th), partially because Lancashire is just football saturated and there's a lot of competition, and partially because neither have had glorious recent histories. The other thing about the plethora of football clubs in Lancashire is that it means that the clubs have so many local rivals, it dilutes the direct rivalry with any one club in particular. That said, I would say the Wigan match is the closest we have to a big derby currently in the Premiership and there is always good banter between the fans.
What do you think the result will be?
We do have a recent history of drawing at the DW but I'm going to optimistically go with a 2-1 win to the mighty Whites, simply because we need it.
And Finally, what is your favourite flavour of pie?
This is the question that took me the longest to answer. I love pie fairly universally, but if I have to pick one probably just simple meat and potato for me.
Thank you Matilda for that insight into the mine of a Bolton fan. It has for me highlighted a few things ahead of this weekends game. Moses vs Robinson for one thing looks to be the crucial factor. Who is more likely to score between two teams who this season have been poor in the final for third.
It has the makings of a great match up this weekend.