Before the start of the season, there was a real buzz amongst Bolton fans.
Upon the appointment of Ian Evatt, spirits were high, the recruitment seemed to be coming on strongly and there was an excitement surrounding the playing style he was planning to implement.
The original feeling was that the club would take to life in League Two at a canter, and gain automatic promotion.
But what have we to show for it?
After eight games in League Two, The Trotters have a solitary win away at newly promoted Harrogate Town, which we hoped was a turning point.
However, a goalless draw against Grimsby was then followed by the pain of conceding a last minute goal to struggling Oldham, which meant that Evatt’s side fell to their fifth loss of the campaign.
They have since rescued draws against Barrow and Cambridge United despite having a defence that seems very, very unstable.
Evatt seems to be persevering in playing Alex Baptiste, who returned to the club this season for his second spell.
From a fans perspective, Baptiste seems to be the weak link. He hasn’t got the pace, not to mention that he was a right back the last time he played for Bolton, and is now being played at centre half.
Along with this, young Fleetwood loanee Billy Crellin, has come under increased criticism this week.
After the mistake leading to Cambridge’s opener on Saturday, and as Evatt pointed out, a couple of mistakes against Barrow, the gaffer told Crellin to ‘Man Up’ in an interview with BBC Radio Manchester Sport - see below.
These comments from Evatt have not been met with backlash from Crellin’s parent Club boss Joey Barton who stated that he thought Evatt was rational and would’ve done things differently. He then admitted that there’s a lot of things he’d done himself that others would change so Evatt would not face an earful from the Cod Army boss.
Meanwhile, Evatt has since issued an apology.
Could Ian Evatt face the chop sooner rather than later?
In a nutshell, yes.
Personally, I think the performances have not been good enough, and team selections questionable.
Evatt is not allowing young Ronan Darcy game time in League Two. Darcy was ever present in Keith Hill’s side in the division above last season and really did not look out of place. Despite being just 19 years of age, the Orsmkirk born midfielder shone in the side last season, and definitely warrants a start and a chance to prove himself at this level.
I understand that with a new bunch of players, they do need time to gel, and find common ground within the squad.
Eight league and three cup games in, you would have thought the signs would be more promising.
Evatt’s new skipper Antoni Sarcevic has been the standout performer, dragging the side back from the brink of defeat at Barrow and Cambridge, and I think this is Evatt’s best move to date at the Unibol however something defensively needs to change.
His hands are tied with the transfer market now being closed, and the new salary cap in place across the division, but he needs to establish a set back five if he is to persevere with this style.
He’ll have a big decision to make on Crellin should he not improve, with Matt Gilks and young Matt Alexander who impressed when called upon last season, waiting to prove their point.
Something needs to change soon before the Bolton Faithful turn on him.
It’s a tough one because the fans have been used to the glory days and expect better from the club, and that may be a factor in how quickly he receives major criticism from them.
I want to see him do well, of course I do. Can I see it changing soon? I’m not so sure but only time will tell.