Phil Parkinson - Make yourselves heroes

Phil Parkinson believes now is the time for his players to write themselves into Wanderers folklore and make themselves heroes with six crucial matches left of the 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship season.

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Derby County, the Whites manager has called for his side to put Tuesday night's defeat to Birmingham City behind them when they take to the field at Pride Park.

And with every point vital as Bolton look to secure their place in the second tier for next season, Parkinson has called for his players to get the job done with attentions firmly focussed on the final weeks of the campaign.

“We feel with six games to go that now is the time for the players to become heroes,” Parkinson told 

“I remember when Jem Karacan scored against Peterborough United in the final game of last season and people were talking about that goal all the way through the summer.

“In this current period, we need the players to step up to the plate and produce match-winning performances and I feel they’re capable of doing that.

“We’re still in a decent position but we can’t rely on other teams to drop points. We’ve got to take care of the situation ourselves.

“If this group can keep us above that dotted line come the end of the season, then they’ll be remembered for a long time.”

The Whites will be taking a near fully fit squad to Derby County on Saturday, with the only absentees being captain Darren Pratley (shin) and Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring). 

Parkinson is expecting a tough test at Pride Park – two years on from Wanderers’ last visit which saw them relegated to League One - but believes the group of players are up to the task at hand.

“Derby had a great start to the season and everyone was expecting them to be top two, although they’ve had a different run of late,” he said.

“They know they’ve got a challenge on their hands for that play-off berth. There are teams below them who are still in the mix so they’ve still got lots to play for.

“We’ve had some good performances against teams chasing promotion. We’ve got to take the spirit from the Norwich game where we had to dig really deep, the pressing and intensity that we showed at Reading and the determination against Sheffield Wednesday where we got back in the game.

“We’ll need all of those characteristics from now until the end of the season.”

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