FILIPE Morais has fast made a name for himself at BOLTON WANDERERS. After making only 4 league starts for Bradford this season, the Trotters’ League One promotion rivals released him at the end of the transfer window.
Now a free agent, Bolton boss Phil Parkinson snapped up the Portuguese midfielder on February 2 and he’s not looked back since.
The 31-year-old went straight into the side, starting all 9 games since arriving at the Macron, and after a brilliant week for Bolton, he now has 9 assists for Wanderers. With the one he managed at Bradford, he now has 10 for the season – just one less than the League One assist leader, ex-Trotter Matty Taylor, has managed all season with Northampton.
Parkinson knew what he was getting. He signed Morais for Bradford from Stevenage in 2014. But surely he has been taken by surprise by the impact the former Chelsea trainee has had.
Fans feared Wanderers would be facing a battle to stay in the play-off places after 2 successive 1-1 draws at home made it a run of just 2 wins from 10 in the league. But led by Morais, Bolton have got back in form in style.
An 18-match unbeaten run in the league had catapulted Fleetwood into 2nd place, yet the Trotters went up to the Fylde coast last Saturday and thumped the Cod Army 4-2, with Morais setting up the last 3 goals. They then won 4-0 at Gillingham on Tuesday night and this time Morais set up all 4. In total, he’s assisted 9 of Bolton’s last 10 goals, helping them get firmly back in the race for automatic promotion.
Cue a bout of hero worship on Twitter, from fans and team-mates alike. Morais has been nicknamed ‘the assist king’, as well as ‘the postman’ and ‘FedEx’ – because he always delivers. The 2nd line of his Wikipedia profile has also been altered so that it begins ‘Morais, who is an assist God’.
— Adam Le Fondre (@A1F1E9) March 14, 2017
He now is set to go head to head with Taylor as the veteran midfielder’s Northampton side visit the Macron tomorrow (Saturday). Morais’ magic has helped Bolton get back within a point of the top 2 – and they have a game in hand on Fleetwood, which is at Oxford United on Tuesday. As well as his form, Wanderers have also been boosted by the return of club captain Darren Pratley and the arrival of free agent Jem Karacan on a one-month deal. Pratley started against both Fleetwood and Gillingham and was replaced by ex-Reading midfielder Karacan in each game.
But Northampton have won their last 3 games to climb to 14th in the table so the Trotters will have to maintain the standards they have set in romping to victory in their last 2 games if they are to make it 3 straight wins for the first time since December.
Relegation rivals OLDHAM and BURY played out a 0-0 draw in last Saturday’s derby at the SportsDirect.com Park. That suited both sides as it kept them just above the bottom 4, and they both got back to winning ways in midweek to put further ground between themselves and the drop zone.
Lee Erwin scored in each half to give Oldham a 2-1 home win against Oxford, moving them 5 points clear, and Bury have 6 points’ breathing space after a 3-0 home win against 10-man Bristol Rovers lifted them up to 18th. Latics visit mid-table Peterborough tomorrow while the Shakers have a tough trip to the capital to face 6th-placed Millwall.