Boss calls on Bolton fans to help stave off Bradford invasion

Phil Parkinson with League One’s Manager of the Month award for August

MANAGER Phil Parkinson has urged the BOLTON fans to get right behind the Trotters as his former club Bradford come to town on Saturday.

Parkinson brought an end to a successful five-year spell at Bradford to take charge at Bolton this summer and has done a fine job of reviving the club after being relegated from the Championship.

Wanderers were top of League One, with Parkinson named Manager of the Month for August, before their unbeaten start ended last week with a 1-0 defeat at 10-man Walsall.

Parkinson was replaced by Stuart McCall at Bradford and they too have started well. The Bantams are joint-third with Bury, just one point behind Bolton, and are now the last remaining team unbeaten in League One.

Wanderers could be boosted by the return of Jay Spearing and Zach Clough to the starting line-up and although Parkinson and striker Jamie Proctor will be facing their former club, the Bolton boss played down that factor.

“I’ve tried to block that side of it out and concentrate on trying to get back to winning ways,” he said. “I think the supporters can play a big part for us. There is going to be a large, travelling contingent coming across the M62. After our first defeat of the season, as much as it’s a test for the team, it’s also a test for the supporters.

“I feel that, if you document the season so far, and all the way through pre-season, we’ve started to put the pride back into Bolton Wanderers. Now we need the supporters to really get behind the team, make it a great atmosphere similar to the Sheffield United game (on the opening day), and give our lads every bit of backing, as they have done so far.

“I have to make a special mention of the supporters last Saturday at Walsall. Even though we did get beat, the vast majority of them stayed behind to clap the lads at the end, and I thought was excellent from them.

“We know there were areas in the performance that we needed to be better but the attributes of commitment and honesty, which we’ve been spelling out to the lads since day one, were in place. The supporters appreciated that, and we need more of that at the weekend.”

Wanderers had a crowd of 17,050 for that 1-0 win on the opening day, which sparked a seven-match unbeaten run in the league. Bradford are now eight unbeaten after drawing their last four league games 1-1 and are set to bring over 4,000 fans from Yorkshire.

Parkinson added: “It’ll probably top the Sheffield United game and be the biggest crowd of the season, but I’m looking forward to the lads embracing that and enjoying the atmosphere. It’s going to be a tough game because Bradford have had a very good start, you’ve got to give them credit for that, so it’s going to be a good test for both teams.”

Scunthorpe go into the weekend two points clear at the top and host Sheffield United, who have recovered from a poor start to climb to sixth.