Although our last home fixture against Fulham was just over a week ago, since then, the team have been on their travels down at Cardiff and Queens Park Rangers respectively and have certainly been clocking up the miles, with our superb fans also backing the team in their numbers.
Firstly, the result and performance at the Cardiff City Stadium was particularly disappointing considering how well we had played in our home games against Bristol City and Fulham in the run up to this fixture.
We had the chance to move even further away from the relegation zone and bring other teams into the mix. Sadly however, it didn’t happen, and although the team put in an improved performance at Loftus Road on Saturday, Mark Little’s sending off early in the second half was very much the turning point in the clash.
Personally, I think a straight red was harsh, but in all honesty, I think the less said about the officials’ performance and decisions, the better.
That said, the players pulled together and defended resolutely for the most part, only being undone by a set-piece header and then a close-range header right at the death when we were chasing for an equaliser.
Of course, it was frustrating to leave the game empty handed, but we should not forget that injuries have already had an effect on the manager’s recent team selections with many players unavailable for selection.
No doubt, injuries and suspensions will continue to take their toll in the next few weeks which was the reason that I made the decision not to let any players go out on loan in January, despite bringing five players in to the club.
But, as we have proven time and time again, this team relishes challenges and the adversities that we face at present will only add fuel to our fire ahead of Tuesday’s game.
Our encounter with Sunderland will be our fifth game inside 17 days and, given the other results around the bottom of the league at the weekend, if ever there was a match worthy of the title ‘a six pointer’, then this could be it – even at this stage of the season.
Having looked at our upcoming fixtures alongside those of the teams around us however, Tuesday’s result will not be a defining one and as I have repeatedly said, there will be many twists and turns between now and the end of the season with the strong possibility being that our destiny will go right to the wire.
If we can maintain our home form though and pick up all three points against one of our relegation rivals in midweek, then the rewards are there for us all to see, as it will put more pressure on them and alleviate some for us.
It will be paramount to our success that we ensure that the atmosphere at Macron Stadium however is as intimidating as it can be from kick-off - every ounce of effort from you, our supporters who chant and show their passion throughout each game, makes a huge difference and inspires and drives the players on.
After Sunderland on Tuesday, we have got six games remaining on home soil this term and while we will certainly need to pick up points away from Macron Stadium, I believe our home form will be the key to our destiny - and every single Bolton Wanderers fan can play their part.
None of us will forget how you all came out and got behind the team in the run-in last season and effectively helped get us over the line and achieve promotion back to the Sky Bet Championship at the first attempt, and I truly believe that, if we can achieve that same level of support in this run-in, it will ensure we maintain our Championship status and set us up for consolidating our position next season.
In an effort to try and encourage as many supporters as possible to come along and get behind us, we will be launching our “No Place Like Home” ticket package for our final five games this season at Macron Stadium this week.
This will run for our matches against Aston Villa, Birmingham, Millwall, Wolves and Nottingham Forest with packages costing from as little as £80.
I really hope you will all replicate your support for the club as you did last season and come along and get us over the line as we head towards the Championship’s climax.
If you cast your minds back to the Bristol City game, even though it was on a Friday night and broadcast live on Sky Sports, the noise you all made was remarkable and helped us to the victory, with the manager and players recognising that in their post-match interviews.
Let’s have more of the same in midweek and between now and the end of the campaign and I am certain that we will climb the table and inch closer to our target of staying in this league.
Very soon, we will be announcing details about next season’s season tickets and we’ll be looking to reward current season ticket holders to express our gratitude for their loyal support. Please keep your eyes peeled on the club’s communication channels over the coming weeks for more information.
Away from matters on the pitch meanwhile, it was announced last week that British boxing heavyweight champion Sam Sexton will be defending his belt against challenger Hughie Fury in the Premier Suite at Macron Stadium.
This will be the first time that the British heavyweight championship will be contested live on free-to-air television in seven years.
The fight, which will take place on Saturday 12 May, is a real coup for the club and hotel and joins other high profile events, such as the summer Little Mix and The Killers concerts at the stadium.
Macron Stadium is getting back on the map as a major venue, not just for football, but for a whole host of other events and sporting activities and this versatility of course helps to bring in additional revenue which ultimately benefits your football club.
Your support is very much valued and appreciated by everybody at the club. Ultimately, Bolton Wanderers is your club and you are the lifeblood of this incredible institution.
As always, let’s be loud, let’s be proud and let’s get behind the team this week as we look to put some daylight between ourselves and the bottom three.