Looking ahead to the weekend’s encounter against Ipswich Town at Macron Stadium, it is a game which presents us with an opportunity to continue our good home form in the league.
Our recent victories on home soil against Cardiff City and Hull City were impressive and illustrated our battling spirit and never-say-die attitude, and we need to show more of the same when we line up against a well organised Ipswich side on Saturday.
In the Emirates FA Cup meanwhile, we pitted our wits against Premier League opposition in the guise of Huddersfield Town, and although both teams made several changes from their usual league squads, we acquitted ourselves very well against a team that has caused a few upsets in the top flight.
As a result of Cardiff’s progression in the competition however, our game against them which was due to be next weekend will now be played further down the line, details of which will be announced in due course.
Fortunately, several other Championship teams are still involved in the FA Cup and so they will also have to have games rescheduled.
I thought we deserved to get something out of the game against Brentford last weekend, which shows how far we have come since we played them at Macron Stadium earlier in the campaign and had we had better luck with some of the chances that fell to us early in the game, then the result may have been very different.
We were backed by a tremendous following of just over 1,000 Wanderers fans who made some fantastic noise throughout the entire game and it was a shame that the team weren’t able to reward you with a positive result.
We bade farewell to Adam Armstrong, Josh Cullen and Reece Burke early in the New Year who all returned to their parent clubs, and I would like to thank them for their contributions over the first half of the season.
Elsewhere however, it was pleasing to see Harry Charsley make his debut at Griffin Park just over a day after we signed him from Everton and I am very excited to see what he can bring to the team in the second part of the campaign.
As is usual for this time of the year, a great deal is being written and talked about as to what will or won’t happen in the transfer window, the majority of which is pure speculation and often very wide of the mark. I suppose that is why football is such an interesting and intriguing subject, as it’s all about opinions and rightly or wrongly everybody has them.
For my part, l have to say a lot of which is written or said on social media by so-called experts, or sources allegedly in the know, does make me laugh, as generally speaking it’s total nonsense, and without any foundation whatsoever.
The reality of what may or may not transpire is far more scientific and extensively researched prior to the window opening and discussed by numerous people in the club player recruitment departments before any negotiations and discussions with other clubs, players or their agents take place.
Even then, the final decisions are and always have been since l have been involved at the club, taken solely by the first team management personnel.
As we enter the run-in to what is generally known as the ‘business end of the season’, l along with my trusted colleagues and advisors have begun the process of reviewing our season to date and our realistic prospects for the rest of the campaign.
This has been made far more difficult than l hoped it would be due to our disappointing start to the season. Fortunately, our recent results have given us renewed hope and the opportunity to take the view that our destiny is now in our own hands and that is something no one was predicting back in the autumn, when everyone was writing us off.
I am fully aware that what you all really want to know is what is actually going to happen in this transfer window and who is leaving and who is coming in.
Unfortunately, like all the other clubs, those decisions don’t always rest solely with the club owners, as has been clearly seen recently with Southampton, Liverpool, Arsenal and a number of Sky Bet Championship clubs. Often other external factors actually determine what does or does not happen.
All l can tell you is that we are actively looking to bring more players in and l am not expecting to sell any of our players who are regularly mentioned in the media speculation and, as has been correctly reported, l have already declined several offers for our players in this window and will continue to do so to give us the best possible opportunity of retaining our Championship status.
That said, l do understand that everybody has a price and l always have to consider the club’s longer term financial situation, so if and when there is an exceptional offer, l would have to think about now and the future and no doubt, that is what happened when Britt Assombalonga was sold by Nottingham Forest to Middlesbrough and Alex Pritchard from Norwich to Huddersfield for example.
However, l am not anticipating that happening to us in the current window. Indeed, someone would have to make an unbelievable offer to even tempt us to part with any of our players and in my opinion, that is unlikely to happen in this window.
I have also previously stated that players who have not been involved in the matchday squads probably need to look elsewhere for football and that remains the case, as both the manager and l want to work with a squad of circa 24/25 players.
As is normal, a number of our younger players will also be given the opportunity to go out on loan to gain playing time and help in their future development.
Since l have been at the club, l have always tried my best to be open and transparent and will continue to do so wherever possible.
There will also be another player signing session in Bolton Central prior to kick off on Saturday and it will be a great chance for you to meet some first team players and get their autographs.
We will have several promotions running across our merchandise range, so it will be the ideal opportunity for you to get some bargains and show your support for the team.
I’d also like to remind you about our half season ticket offer, which ends before kick-off at the weekend. You will be able to watch our final ten homes games of the season from just £170, which equates to £17 per match.
This is the most cost effective way of watching Wanderers at Macron Stadium and we need your support as always. To purchase a half season ticket and spread the cost over Direct Debit, please call 0844 871 2932, click online at www.eticketing.co.uk/bwfc or visit Bolton Central in person.
Also, please don’t forget about our season ticket holder offer for the Bristol City match. All BWFC season ticket holders will be able to purchase up to four additional tickets for just £10 each for this game.
Let’s try and get Macron Stadium full for this match to show the watching TV audience just what a night under the lights in Bolton can be like.
More information about this offer can be found by visiting www.bwfc.co.uk or heading into Bolton Central in person where our staff members will happily assist you.
Meanwhile, please continue to support Bolton Whites Hotel and the events they host as every bit of revenue helps support the club.
This week, they’ll be announcing details of some Valentine’s Day packages as well as the Bolton IPMS Model Show which is taking place in the Premier Suite on Sunday 28 January.
Finally, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Phyllis Leyland, a long standing supporter and a lady who was truly part of the fabric of the football club having given her time towards the Bolton Wanderers Development Association and Lotteries.
The sincere sympathies of all here at the club go to her sisters, Ann and Margaret and all her extended family and friends.