Last Season: 13th
Say hello to your new teammates: Zat Knight, Sam Ricketts, Sean Davis, Paul Robinson (the West Brom left back not the fat goalkeeper)
Close the door on your way out: Blerim Dzemaili apparently…
Predicted star: Gary Cahill is an outside bet for a World Cup place. Matt Taylor will be doing spectacular things in midfield once again.
Needs a big year: Johan Elmander flattered to deceive last season. He’ll have to improve this time around.
One to watch: Sean Davis is experienced and hardly coming through but seems like a good signing none the less. The Guardian’s pre-season preview reliably informs me that of the youngsters, Temitope Obadeyi is someone on the up. I’ll take their word for it.
What they want to happen: Mid-table but without the obscurity.
Nightmare scenario: Relegation.
Plan A: Give it to Matt Taylor and let him shoot.
Plan B, just in case: Give it to Kevin Davies and let him elbow people. This is often Plan A to be fair.
Predicted finish: 15th
Why? Last season both Matt Taylor and Kevin Davies had the best seasons of their career and it will be foolhardy to rely on them repeating the 21 goals they scored between them. Jaaskelainen will be excellent as ever but up Elmander will need to score more than five this time. The main problem with Bolton is their tiny squad. If one of their key players get injured they’re suddenly in deep trouble. Much like the manager himself, the new signings don’t especially fill you with excitement. Davis is a decent pro and I guess Zat Knight is potentially a good centre back due to his height.
I’m sure Bolton long for the days of Jay Jay Okocha or Youri Djorkaeff. There is no one of that ilk at the moment and I don’t see that changing whilst Megson is in charge. This is partly because he doesn’t put out teams with those sorts of player but also because he doesn’t have the personality to attract them in the first place. Bolton will be safe but they won’t match last season’s 13th place.