EAGLES: I’M REALLY FLYING AGAIN NOW
I’ll forget boos if Bolton make play-offs
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.”