Club skipper offers his thoughts following the team's final outing of the league season
Speaking following Wanderers’ final day clash against Fulham at Craven Cottage, Darren Pratley called for unity as the club looks to League One whilst praising the Whites’ supporters for their continued backing throughout the course of the season and in West London at the weekend.
With Tom Cairney’s second half strike denying Bolton a share of the spoils in West London, the club’s travelling contingent – over 1,200 of them – made themselves heard throughout the game.
Reflecting on the team’s narrow reverse at the hands of the Cottagers meanwhile, the 31-year-old admitted that Wanderers were ultimately left disappointed at not taking something from the game.
“Ultimately, we’ve been undone by another mistake near the end which is a blow,” he said. “I think a draw would have been a fair result, but we can’t dwell on it now.
“The season is over now though and we need to look forward and prepare for life in League One next year. It’s all about getting ourselves ready for the challenge.”
He added: “The fans were absolutely fantastic today and it’s a credit to them all. To come down here, with us having nothing to play for and with an early kick-off too, it’s just brilliant and we genuinely appreciated it.
“You could hear them all the way through the game singing and it really does mean a lot.
“They have been like that all season though to be fair and we need that to continue into next season because we’ll need them more than ever.”
Looking ahead to the summer and beyond, the club’s captain said, “From the club’s point of view, we know there will be changes in the coming months but it’s important to keep a good nucleus of players, especially from a youth point of view.
“It’s massively important that we get a manager in as quickly as possible to give them time to get their own structure on the place because come next season, teams will look at us as a big scalp in League One.”
He continued: “We need to be hard to be, get in people’s faces and make our mark from the outset. We need to start as we mean to go on because it’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we won’t be taking it lightly. There’s no international breaks or any of that comfort – it will be a long, hard season and we all need to be on the same page if we want to succeed.
“There’s always a lot of pressure on newly relegated teams to win promotion back at the first time of asking and that’ll be no different for us.
“There will no doubt be recruitment in the summer and it needs to be the right kind of players to ensure that we’re in a strong position to bounce back.”
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