Gaffer Post-Falkirk

"Step-by-step we are moving up the rungs of the ladder," says Coyle after the 1-1 draw with Falkirk

Manager Owen Coyle said he was encouraged with the performance against Falkirk, explaining that his team are 'moving up the rungs of the ladder'.

The Whites trailed inside the first minute before recovering through Chris Eagles' long-range effort.

Bolton could have easily scored at least another three or four goals, but Coyle acknowledged that the players' match sharpness will improve with each passing pre-season friendly.

He said: "It wasn't an enjoyable start, I've got to say, but it was a terrific goal with the composure that the lad showed.

"It showed us that you can't start games slowly because you will get punished. And for the following ten minutes, Falkirk were in the ascendency because they started really well.

"But, bit-by-bit, we grew into the game and Eagles scored a wonderful goal. After that it was chance after chance.

"We aren't too worried about that because in pre-season, you get sharper as the games go by.

"Both of Falkirk's goalkeepers - McGovern and the young lad who came on in the second half - made some wonderful saves.

"These three matches have been very tough and we have got to understand that the Scottish season starts on Saturday.

"We went out this morning and trained the lads hard because it's all about fitness levels - that's why we are here. From now on, we will step things up, getting the players 75 minutes and then 90 minutes.

"We are just short of another four weeks before we get things going on August 18 and the important thing then is that we hit the ground running.

"Step-by-step we are moving up the rungs of the ladder. There have been a lot of pleasing aspects from these last seven days, but we know there is further room for improvement."

Having missed the previous two friendlies, David Ngog once again sat out the game, as did new signing Matt Mills.

Coyle added: "David tweaked his back and the plan now is to see how he is on Friday morning when hopefully he will be able to do a bit of training.

"We will take it from there but it's important that we don't force him and aggravate the injury.

"Matt took a knock the other day but I'm hoping he will be fit and well for Crewe.

"But we won't take any chances in pre-season because we have to make sure the players are at the right fitness levels when they play the games."

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