Cottagers Confidential: Fulham have had a poor season and are still without a permanent coach. But anytime I start to feel too bad, I remember Bolton and think it could be worse. What has this season been like for you?
Lion of Vienna Suite: A total disaster. The warning signs were there at the end of last season as we lost our final 4/5 games on the trot. A poor summer of recruitment coupled with a failure (still) to overcome the loss of Lee Chung-Yong led to many of us fearing the worst. We didn’t think it would be quite this bad, but it’s been worse than we could have ever comprehended. Tim Ream’s sale to yourselves was a bolt from the blue, one that was welcomed by some, but lamented by most – we’ve failed to bring in players of any real quality and it’s impossible to say that we’ve improved in any area of the pitch compared to the end of last season.
CC: Bolton has only won once this season, but has only lost twice more than Fulham. That's a lot of draws for a team. Is this bad luck or are the draws hiding even bigger problems?
LOVS: It’s a mixture of both. We are in such a poor financial state that we have been unable to develop or bolster an already paper-thin squad. This means that whenever we play moderately well we often struggle to convert these drawing situations to victories because we simply do not have the requisite quality in front of goal. The injury suffered to Zach Clough has meant that we have had to rely upon Shola Ameobi, Gary Madine and Emile Heskey for goals this season – they have five between them. It’s atrocious.
Our defence has been equally poor. A manager fond of tinkering has tinkered a little too much. There is no consistency of selection, and he seems to favour players over a short period, only to drop them shortly after never to be seen again. It’s a strange managerial style, and one that has had no success – which begs the question why he perseveres with it. Then again, there are lots of questions regarding his leadership that could be described as strange.
The bigger problems are to be found off-field – which in itself sounds daft seeing how bad we’ve been – but the unpaid £600,000 tax bill that has led to last week’s winding-up order has prompted takeover talk. The club’s very future is on the line and hopefully we will hear something soon on that front. The formation of a Supporter’s Trust is one step being taken to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated again.
CC: I really only recognize two names on the Bolton roster, Emile Heskey and Shola Ameobi. Considering their combined age is nearly 72 years, that might be a problem. Are there any other players on Bolton we should watch out for? If you get relegated, is there anyone we should be swooping in for? LOVS: Zach Clough and Ben Amos are really the only two that you need to bother yourself with. One is the best English forward outside the Premier League, and the other is a goalkeeper with a good CV – spells at Hull City and a long education at Manchester United reveal a quality goalkeeper who deserves to play at a higher level. Josh Vela is another academy graduate with ability, but he often blows hot and cold. The rest of the team aren’t worth bothering with. Seriously. CC: Predicted Lineup and score?
LOVS: Prediction – Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Fulham