BOLTON manager Phil Parkinson believes his side are bringing back the feelgood factor at the Macron Stadium.
Wanderers fans were down in the doldrums after seeing their side slump to a second relegation in four years this summer, while the club’s financial problems meant Parkinson’s hands were tied after arriving from Bradford due to a transfer embargo.
Yet the Trotters still managed to make a superb start to life back in the third tier, going seven unbeaten in League One. Some then questioned whether they had the staying power after a run of eight games without win.
But Bolton have answered those doubts emphatically. Wanderers sold out their allocation for Monday’s derby at Bury, with around 3,200 fans making the short trip to Gigg Lane, and they got right behind the team as two Zach Clough penalties give them a 2-0 victory. That stretched their winning run to five and ended the club’s 87-year wait for a league win at their local rivals.
“We had fantastic support,” said Parkinson. “I can feel the momentum building with our supporters and that only happens when they see honesty, endeavour and commitment out on the pitch.
“They are starting to identify with this group of lads. They really will run themselves into the ground for the shirt. Everyone contributes to getting the results every game. Every fan who comes to the ground, every player – whether they start or not…everyone has to make a contribution.”
Monday’s win sent Bolton back up to second place in League One ahead of this Saturday’s visit from Port Vale, who are seventh despite winning just one of their last six.
“It’s good to be up there,” Parkinson added. “We’d rather be first but we’ll take second for now. More importantly, it’s a good result to take into a home game at the weekend.
“I said to the lads before the game that Monday night was about backing up the Millwall win. Good teams progress again to the next game, they go again, individually and collectively, and I felt we did that.
“There was a real determination about us. You could sense it in the dressing room, they were so determined to end that run of Bolton not winning here and we did it.
“There were reasons for that blip. We had some key players out and a bit of disruption. We muddled our way through that period but we’re settled again now with the way we’re playing so we’re pleased.”
Bury boss David Flitcroft felt Clough went down easily for the two penalties, which came early in each half, but Bolton did make the best chances besides the penalty incidents.
“If they were soft penalties then we were due a bit of luck,” said Parkinson. “We hadn’t had a penalty all season so when you get one you need someone to stick it in the net and Zach did that.
“All round it was a very solid, hard-working team performance and we deservedly got the win. It was a big game and we handled the occasion really well.
“We’ll enjoy the victory, because that’s important. There’s always that added pressure away from home, especially when you’re live on TV, and even more so when it’s a local derby as well.”