BOLTON might now reflect that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been a disappointing season because they were knocked out of the UEFA Cup and, unusually for them, went on a poor run of defeats recently that saw them slip a little down the Premiership.
However, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had a continued development and have been very much a fixture in the top echelons of the league.
Having had those defeats, they typically bounced back to beat Charlton convincingly last Saturday. Every team that plays against Bolton knows they have to do their homework and plan against them and perform particularly well in certain aspects of the game.
In terms of personnel, Bolton have been fairly well settled all season.
The player who perhaps isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t playing as much is Okocha, who has been in and out in regards of the number of games heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s played but when he does play you know the quality you can get from him. With the way they play and the style they play he is the one player who can really open up doors with his passing.
The right-back position has changed a couple of times with Hunt injured but Gardner has been one of the most consistent left-backs in the league, especially considering the fact that he went there as a left winger and in his first few seasons played left wing.
Ben Haim, NÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Gotty and Faye have all featured as centre-backs recently.
Ivan Campo has been back in with his huge experience and real quality play and I think they missed him at times this season. They can rotate in midfield Ã¢â‚¬â€œ IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve mentioned Okocha, Nakata has great passing ability, Speed just keeps going and comes up with vital goals and Nolan has played just about all season.
TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve changed up front a little and where Davies has always played up the middle, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s played right of a three with Borgetti getting more games. Vaz Te is there as well - Sam Allardyce wheels and deals in the market and I think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unearthed a real prospect there.
Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Bolton at the Lane in our final home game of the season on Sunday.