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Bolton Wanderers 2009-2010- Season Of Improvement Or Disappointment?

BOLTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 15:  Jussi Jaaskelainen of Bolton Wanderers looks dejected at the final whistle during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland at Reebok Stadium on August 15, 2009 in Bolton, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris AbalainContributor IAugust 17, 2009

Jussi Jaaskelainen (pictured here) is now a 12-season Bolton Wanderers veteran, but I'm going to look now at whether it will be one of his best, or one he would like to forget.

Bolton's new signings, mostly defensive additions, such as Paul Robinson, Sam Ricketts and Zat Knight haven't exactly lit any fires in their first showing against Sunderland, but I'm not going to spend my time criticizing the Sunderland game here since it wouldn't really be very effective. It's the rest of the team I'm more worried about.

Sean Davis is the only significant boost to a lacklustre midfield that really is missing some flair or verve. Ricardo Gardner's hamstring injury has been confirmed, which will see him miss three weeks of action. This is a huge blow considering his better end-of-season form. Again, not to critique the manager's selection at Sunderland, but having Gavin McCann and Fabrice Muamba, both defensive-minded midfielders, in the same team was not exactly a masterstroke, and I wonder if the fans would accept Kevin Nolan, were he to return to the Reebok?

In truth, we need some fresh faces, but we need an inspirational player to push the team forward in Nolan's mold, though perhaps with some better ball skills. Don't get me wrong, we're not going to have the next Steven Gerrard, but even Danny Guthrie, who was on loan at the Reebok would have been an improvement on the squad we have at the moment.

We really couldn't write a prognosis without analysing the state of the forward line. Davies and Elmander, both goalscorers in distant history, have not proven to score many goals for Bolton Wanderers, although last season was Davies' most prolific at Bolton. Could he raise the bar and score more goals? I'm thinking that Johan Elmander just needs a really good goal to lift the weight from his shoulders and give him a boost of confidence, although with that being very rare last season, it would be putting high expectations on someone virtually destined to disappoint in a white shirt.

So who could Bolton get to boost their attack? Having missed out on Darren Bent at a cut-price £5m, we've got a hold of a South-Korean winger named Chung-Yong Lee who seems to be an up-and-comer on the wing or up front. But in his first season, Bolton fans can't expect miracles. We could scour the big clubs for young strikers packed with potential, or we could find that star that has lost his "star-quality" like we did with Anelka, Djorkaeff, Okocha, and so many others. But I guess those days are in our past.

Maybe Bolton is destined for a tough season, but like many fans, I can't help wonder what an extra proven goalscorer would do for morale of the team, someone they know can hit them in without too much effort. Not Jardel, please.

I have avoided the question, but a lot of Bolton fans will be questioning Gary Megson's ability to steer the Bolton ship in to survival, and I can't help but question my loyalty to this man. I find his logical approach a little stubborn, but I can't help but feel bad for him, with the resources he works with.  

He made his intentions clear, that he wanted to improve the style of football, at the end of last season, and fair play to him for trying that. But, as he said himself, he needs to bring in extra quality for that to happen, and I don't think Bolton's money pot has anything left for that £6m striker or £5m midfield flair player.

To conclude, I think Bolton will struggle to meet expectations of improvement. But I don't see them falling to the bottom of the pile, either. Contrary to the pessimism of some Trotters fans, I still see light at the end of the tunnel, and we are just a couple of players away from a half decent side. But we really need to bounce back early on in the season, or we could find ourselves in the mire come Christmas.

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