Bolton going back to basics at Preston North End
Boss Phil Parkinson wants his side to be more 'Bolton-like' when they head to Deepdale on Saturday.
Preston North End welcome their Lancashire neighbours this Saturday with Wanderers having suffered their first Championship loss of the season last time out. The Trotters impressive start came to an end with a 3-0 defeat home to Sheffield United.
It left Chorley-born Parkinson with plenty to ponder ahead of bringing his side to face the club he supported as a boy.
“It’s back to the drawing board,” he said.
“We’ll be ready to put in a more Bolton-like performance when we turn up at Deepdale.
“The result was disappointing because we’ve worked very hard as a team to do all the very basic things on a football pitch right at the start of the season.
“Hence we’ve had two away wins, which we struggled to get last season.
“For whatever reason for the first 20 minutes we went away from that.
“That’s got to be a lesson we learn, you can’t go into a game and not be switched on mentally and physically and I don’t think we were switched on at the start.
“We have been gritty and resilient at the start of the season but that was a good lesson for us because we got punished.
“What we’ve done recently since the start of the season – staying with runners, being disciplined, making sure we stay in the game – we didn’t do.
“People were running off us, little jobs we had to do to make sure we got a foothold in the game we didn’t do and we gave a good team a two-goal start.
“We’ve had a great start, a terrific start, and it’s a bit of a reality check for everybody that we’re not getting carried away.”
Despite the result, a side that only survived on the final day of last season still sit third in the early table with 10 points from their opening five games.
Defender Mark Beevers is now keen for Wanderers to finish the first part of the campaign before the international break on a high on Saturday.
“The key now is to finish this block of games with a good result,” he said.
“It’s not a major crisis – we’ve only lost one game.
“It’s a tough league, there are some big clubs in it so I would imagine we’d have been up against it with the bookies but we’re here to prove them wrong.
“We’ve got a great set here – but it is only the start, we need to push and go again.”
Bolton’s fine early season form is being led by summer signing Josh Magennis.
The striker’s £200,000 arrival from League One Charlton saw him become the first player Wanderers had paid a transfer fee for in three-and-a-half-years.
The powerful frontman is repaying that investment so far with three goals in five games.
The 28-year-old has 38 caps for Northern Ireland, having had success in Scotland with Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.