Zat Knight made a winning return to the Wanderers’ starting line-up on Saturday against Cardiff City, and the defender now hopes to keep his place in the side under new manager Dougie Freedman.
It has been a testing few weeks for the 32-year-old who, under caretaker boss Jimmy Phillips, found himself out of the first team squad and in the reserve side facing West Ham at the County Ground.
But the former England international remained professional throughout this period, and he was rewarded for all his hard work down at Euxton by earning an instant place in Freedman’s side.
Speaking after Bolton’s 2-1 win over Cardiff on Saturday, Knight said: “It has been a frustrating week not being in the team for the three games. But I kept my head and tried to impress the caretakers while I was there and now the new manager Dougie Freedman has come in, and it is good to be back especially with the win.
“It has been very frustrating going from playing every game this season, to not even being in the squad to playing a reserve game a week ago to being in a winning side under the new manager.
“The manager spoke to me as soon as he came in and said to me that he wants me to be part of the team. He wanted to use my leadership and experience, and he told me that it was now my shirt to lose.
“Now I just want to stay in the team. We have got a tough week this week and hopefully we can get many more performances like that on Saturday.”
Knight has become a focal point in Freedman’s plans, as the central defender revealed more about the new boss’ ambitions to tighten up the Trotters’ defence.
“He tries to base it on if we don’t score then they don’t score and that our football will shine through,” Knight added.
“We have got some good players here and got some quality players on the bench who are ready to go on and show the manager what they can do.
“I think it is a good method, if we don’t score then we don’t concede. We were unfortunate with their goal on Saturday - it was kind of against the run of play - but we picked our heads up, dusted ourselves down and came out for the second half and gave a good account of ourselves. Hopefully we can carry that through to the Leicester game.
“That is what you want when you are winning - you want the games to come quick and fast, and when you lose you want to put it right. That is the good thing about this league.
“Hopefully we can have a good week and pick up three points which would make it a great week for us and the manager.
“We have to continue to slowly tick it along and take one game at a time and concentrate on the next one, which is Leicester on Tuesday.”