Ahead of the crucial final game of the 2017/18 season against Nottingham Forest at Macron Stadium on Sunday, Wanderers’ captain Darren Pratley offered his thoughts. Speaking to bwfc.co.uk at the pre-match press conference, the midfielder discussed the following points…
On the dip in form….
Since the international break, we’ve fallen off a little bit. I don’t know if that’s a bit of complacency from us because we were six points clear of the relegation zone going into the break. We were in good form and good spirit and we’ve come away from that a little bit.
I’m sure if I knew, if anyone knew what the reason was, then we’d have rectified that before now. It hasn’t been good enough on our part, but we’ve still got a chance on Sunday if we get the result and other results go our way, then we can remain in the league.
On Bolton Wanderers hurting together….
The fans are hurting. Of course the players, the staff and everyone concerned with the club is hurting. If your club is losing and there’s a chance of you getting relegated, then everyone is going to be disappointed – it effects everyone. We’re not going into these games thinking about holidays and stuff like that, it’s our careers, it’s our futures.
It remains on our CV at the end of the season if you have a relegation and everyone looks into that. No matter if you’re out of contract and you’re leaving, or if you’re staying, that stays with you. Relegation stays on your CV and we don’t want that; we’ll be trying everything on Sunday to do our part and then it’s up to the big man upstairs to hopefully help us and other results can go our way.
On staying positive amidst threat of relegation…
I’ve had the experience before here, twice; when we was in the Premier League, and two years ago when we were relegated then. It’s not a nice feeling and it’s not a nice place to be after relegation. Whatever happens, we have to try and do our part on Sunday and win to give the fans something positive to go away with over the summer.
If it goes our way then it would be fantastic for us to stay in the league, but if not then we have to fight again. This club has done it before and if we go down on Sunday, then we’ll have to do it again. At the moment, we’re going into the game with a positive attitude thinking that we can do it; have a bit of luck and remain in the league.
On an 'All or nothing' encounter…
We have one game left and it’s all or nothing. We need to do our part first and foremost. We need to win and send the fans away with a positive result, feeling good about next season, whatever league we’re in. It’s all or nothing – we have to win. If we win and the others don’t, then we’re staying up and we’ll take it from there.
On needing the Wanderers support…
This is the fans’ club, so they’re going to support their team no matter what. Obviously they’ll be disappointed if we do go down and they’ve been upset the last couple of games, which is understandable. When things don’t go well, you’re going to get criticised and when things go well you get praised.
That’s part and parcel of being a footballer, but these fans will remain Bolton Wanderers fans. You’re going to get highs and lows no matter what but they’ll still be supporting the boys and that’s what we need.