I’ll for­get boos if Bolton make play-offs

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Ron Walker

CHRIS Ea­gles ad­mits his con­fi­dence took a hit when the Bolton boo-boys turned on him and the Wan­der­ers at the turn of the year.

But af­ter re­dis­cov­er­ing some of the early-sea­son form that saw him score six goals in his first 12 games, the winger is ea­ger to win the fans round by help­ing to clinch a play-off spot.

It’s no co­in­ci­dence that Bolton’s rapid rise into top-six con­tention has come off the back of Ea­gles’s in­spir­ing form – the former Manch­ester United young­ster has been a key fig­ure since ar­riv­ing from Lan­cashire ri­vals Burnley in 2011.

But af­ter a dry spell in front of goal around Christ­mas, things came to a head in the Ree­bok Sta­dium clash with the Clarets in Fe­bru­ary when home sup­port­ers cheered his sub­sti­tu­tion.

In the game be­fore that at Watford, Ea­gles’ fam­ily were also re­port­edly ver­bally abused as new boss Dougie Freed­man strug­gled to get the Trot­ters go­ing.

But with eight wins in their last 11 games be­fore this week­end, and two goals in the last seven for Ea­gles, the 27-year-old reck­ons they have timed their late run per­fectly.


“Mo­men­tum’s a big thing, es­pe­cially if you keep win­ning and your con­fi­dence is high and the crowd are be­hind you,” said Ea­gles.

“A few months ago I was go­ing through a tough spell, with fam­ily prob­lems and stuff, and I’ve come out of that and I feel re­freshed and back on my game. I just want to get into dou­ble fig­ures to help the team climb the ta­ble.

“I went to see the man­ager a few times and he gave me a cou­ple of weeks off to get things sorted.

“The last few games I’ve been feel­ing my­self though, and that’s what ev­ery­one’s seen. I’m back play­ing with a smile on my face and I’m lov­ing ev­ery minute of it. It’s an hon­our putting a Bolton shirt on ev­ery week, and es­pe­cially to win. It’s bril­liant.

“At Christ­mas time – whether you’re bot­tom of the league or top of the league – ev­ery­one’s rant­ing and rav­ing about where they are, and peo­ple don’t re­al­ize, es­pe­cially in the Cham­pi­onship, it’s a very long sea­son and a very hard sea­son.

“We’ve peaked at just the right time and now ev­ery­one’s for­got­ten where we were be­fore, but as a team we never had any doubts. We stuck to­gether as a unit and now ev­ery­one’s giv­ing us the credit we de­serve.”


Tues­day’s 3-2 de­feat at Leicester halted the Wan­der­ers’ charge some­what, but with some of the other con­tenders stum­bling, it’s still all to play for.

Next up is a trip to a l re a dy- pro­moted Cardiff, and Ea­gles says some of their per­for­mances away from home need to be turned into points – just as the Blue­birds have shown.

“If you ask peo­ple how we’ve played when we’ve been away we’ve done well, we’ve just not got the re­sults,” added Ea­gles.

“You’ve seen Cardiff do it. They’ve not al­ways played well but they’ve picked up points and the more points you have, the higher up the league you are. We’re not get­ting car­ried away. We’ve got to con­cen­trate.

“We’d like to think we can go all the way. But we’re not happy where we are and that’s why we’re go­ing to keep push­ing on.

“We’ve climbed the ta­ble and we’re high on con­fi­dence and it’s great for the fans – it doesn’t mat­ter if you sup­port Bolton or not, it’s been an in­cred­i­ble story.”

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