Dougie Freedman has admitted he is expecting the unexpected from Blackpool on Saturday afternoon, but he has emphasised that his primary focus will be his own group of players.
Like Wanderers, Blackpool have made an up-and-down start to the season. They sit in 12th position in the league table, but three points for Bolton would see the Whites leapfrog the Seasiders in the standings.
“Blackpool have been very inconsistent and that’s what has let them down, but on their day they are capable of beating anybody,” said Freedman. “The two boys up front – Phillips and Ince – are outstanding and are as good as you will get in this division.
“Blackpool are a team which have been playing very expansively in the last couple of years. It’s worked for them in the main, although not as much this season.
“We have to make sure that we are 100 percent focused on our job because it’s difficult to concentrate too much on Blackpool because of their different manager. What Michael (Appleton) is going to do, I’m not quite sure because he has not been in charge of any games.
“But instead of us looking at them, I like to spin things around. I like to think ‘I wonder what Blackpool are thinking about Bolton coming to town? I wonder what Blackpool are thinking about playing against certain players in our team that are very good?’
“When you think like that, it builds confidence within this group, so I’ve really just concentrated on what we are about, our structure and what we need to do.
“If we prepare properly and go into the game with the right attitude then I believe it’s very much a winnable game for us. We are a team that are showing a bit of determination and grit right now.”
Indeed, defensive discipline has provided a sound footing for Wanderers to get four points from the fixtures against Cardiff City and Leicester City.
Whilst commending the players’ attitude during the back-to-back home games, Freedman believes that there is still plenty more to come from the team.
“When you get know me, you will realise that I’m never delighted, but I’ve been pleased with how things have gone on the training ground and how things have gone from day-to-day,” added the manager.
“I’ll never be totally happy or satisfied with how things go on a Saturday too because the minute you think you have cracked it in this game, both as a player and manager, then you can slip up.
“Results and performances have been good and there has been positive attitude towards getting results, but I think we are capable of going to the next level and that there is a lot more to come.”