Bolton Wanderers are beginning to pick up points finally and The Football Manc Cave is looking at what Keith Hill has done to achieve this so far.
When you look at the Bolton scores from the first couple of weeks of the season and compare them to now, it’s a completely different level. Since Keith Hill has been appointed as manager, if you ignore the 6-1 loss at Rotherham, he’s got a point against Oxford United and another against Sunderland last weekend after being in front for the majority of the game.
What has he done to achieve such a difference?
Before there’s any misunderstanding here, I am not disregarding Phil Parkinson. His style of play may have not been to everyone’s standard, however, he stuck around when times were rough.
He kept us up and got us promoted in his time with us, and he only gave up when he felt the time was right to give another person the responsibilities that he had been carrying for a long time. That man will always be remembered for sticking by us and doing what he could with such a young squad.
Looking at the here and now, Keith Hill has come in and had new players sign for the club on loan spells to help us out. He has had less than a month to get these lads playing together well enough to earn some points.
Bolton went 1-0 up against Rotherham and fans thought that was the start of something special. When you look at the final result of that game, it did turn into something quite different. However, fans got a glimpse of how the newly formed squad would be playing and Keith Hill got a taste of what he would have to do on the training ground to achieve more.
Here are some things that I think he has done in order to achieve success…
The man who received a lot of negative comments in the early stages of the season and why? Because he was going out as Captain and we weren’t playing well enough.
However, Keith Hill has come in and taken that Captain’s armband from him and it’s the best thing he could have ever done for the midfielder. Let’s be honest here, he was only made Captain in the first place because of the age of all the squad players, the inexperience of most and the fact that someone needed to go out as Captain once David Wheater left.
This knocked his confidence as a player and there was a lot of pressure on him. Now fans are seeing a different player because he doesn’t have that added pressure on him, and is open to being a wider and more attacking midfielder now.
He has been given Liam Bridcutt as a partner in the middle. The loanee has taken the Captain’s armband which is proving to be the right decision and has made a positive impact on the team.
It’s also no secret that a lot of the younger players had to go out and try and play for points in the early stages of the season. Fans have got those players down as legends now and constantly said that they didn’t want their efforts to go unnoticed.
Even though we have more experienced players in the squad now, fans wanted to see some of the youngsters on the bench and getting rewarded with more playing time.
That is exactly what Keith Hill has done but in the completely correct and sensible way. Everyone has noticed that Dennis Politic has the capability and standard of play to be in the first-team squad. He has remained in the starting line up which is brilliant for him. If he had have gone back on the bench each week, that could have knocked his confidence.
There are also players like Yoan Zouma, (let’s not talk about the penalty he gave away at the weekend, it literally could have been anyone that gave a handball at that stage). Zouma has been getting brought on in the second half of games which is sensible because he’s not yet at the level to start games. Although, giving him playing time will see him earn that spot eventually.
And finally, the most important thing he has done is, to be honest, and not have high expectations. He has said that he would need time and he even addressed the fact that by saying that, he may receive some comments saying he’s making excuses.
However, in actual fact, time is exactly what he needed. He’s already getting draws with this squad and it’s not even been a month yet. So imagine what will come in a couple of months.
The most impressive thing is the fact he’s not had high expectations and recognises that it’s going to be a hard journey, although he has given Bolton fans the one thing they needed. Hope.