Bolton Back To Europa S2E1 – Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!

Here we go again ladies & gents, season 2 we’re in League 1 and now time to move on from last season’s League 2 title win as we have to get this squad ready to fight in this league. I feel League 1 & 2 are similar in terms of quality to some extent however, the top 8 of League 1 are usually made up of very good teams. For Bolton, the media predict 15th which isn’t bad, personally and for the board we agreed a mid-table finish which I believe is possible depending on my business in the summer transfer window.

Before we even had the players back from their post season break, my Director of Football caused uproar for one of my young prospects Ryan Colvin. After the youngster accepted a new 2 year deal, there was a promise that we would get him loaned out. Two offers from League 2 clubs came in, Colvin was on the development list with some other prospects for my DoF to get them loaned out. I didn’t want monthly fees or that just for the prospects to go out and get some decent game time, then cue this…

DP-FM Tip – If you do have a Director of Football & quite a few players that you want to loan out, add them to the development list under the transfer section of the player menu and your DoF will source a loan move for them…just make sure your DoF’s negotiating attribute is decent to make things go smoothly. Similarly with players you just want gone for whatever price, add them to the unwanted list (same player menu as above) and your DoF will try and sell them on your behalf.

DoF rejects two loan offers, Colvin was keen on the Stockport loan…
I have the chat with Colvin, but he’s had enough. No matter what I said, he asks to be sold ASAP as my DoF had essentially broken my loan promise.
Transfer request was handed in, my DoF puts me in a bad place with a prospect I wanted for the future

I was raging, the DoF was poor with anything I tasked him in the 2020/21 season(probably due to his negotiating attribute being 8!). Out of 9 youngsters he couldn’t find a loan for any. 2 players on the unwanted list, he managed to shift 1 of them. So at the cost of 20k, I got rid of my DoF and got a new one in.

Squad (Pre-Season)

The squad is smaller after last season, quite a few were released at the end of last season and some will be getting sold over the summer to trim the squad even more. Transfer wise I was looking to bring in defensive reinforcements, improvements to centre midfield and a starter on the left wing.

Pre-Season Results

I booked quite a few friendlies, including 5 in 9 days at the start of July, this was to keep rotating players for fitness whilst I sorted out who was going and trying to get some players in.

Results were mixed, main concern for me was the 3-0 loss to Wigan who are also in League 1, I hope this isn’t a sign of our fate in the coming season but there was youngsters involved and no friendly would have had my best XI on paper starting together. It was purely for fitness purposes and to tweak here and there tactically. Although the 5-0 win vs. FC Nurnburg was a standout result.

Transfers

This window was key, if I got the wrong players in then we could be in some real trouble. I had to be smart and cover what I judged to be what the squad needed.

Three permanent transfers on frees and two loans came in. Mastny would serve as a back up GK to Crellin who’s loan I extended for another year. Tom White was with us last season and was released by his parent club with being judged at 3.5 stars as a Box to Box Midfielder and he would be supported with the talented Miguel Azeez (CM) on loan from parent club Arsenal. Scott Banks came in on loan as our left winger rated at 3 stars and what I would say was a major coup is the signing of left back Dan Butler who I was surprised to see as a free agent – Butler was signed to be a starting left back (4 star rating!).

To afford players like Butler’s wages and stay within budget, I moved on players who were not good enough to play for me in League 1 and fringe players who didn’t get game time last season. The selling prices are low due to lack of reputation as players and their short contracts, I barely saw any of the 140k we made from sales as the board retained 95% of transfer income due to our unstable finances.

Tactics

I had been reviewing my tactics quite a lot in pre-season but I couldn’t base them solely off of our pre-season results as the squad was in constant rotation. One thing was for sure though, I was always going to stick with the 4-3-3 DM wide formation and using our trusted custom wing play tactic.

I decided to more or less stick with the same tactics as last season, only changes were more defensive decisions in having the line of engagement as standard so we don’t get exposed if we were to be countered and for GK kicks to be long to keep the pressure away.

This is what I judged as my best XI going into the season but then again there are some good options on the bench and who knows what else will happen in the transfer window with a month left to get players in and move others on.

What’s Next

Pre-season completed, tactics in place and the squad taking shape with incomings and outgoings, all that is left to do is to get underway in League 1. I’m optimistic about the season, I know there are some teams who will beat us but I do fancy our chances against quite a few teams at the same time.

I’m changing the format in season 2 with the episodes to shorten the amount of episodes meaning each episode will have more content for you guys allowing you to see our progression quicker and how we look after 3-4 months at a time opposed to 2 months. We’ll see how that goes anyway!

Episode 2 will cover the opening few months of the season and trying to get the team settled to grab 3 points where we can, hopefully there will be a few new faces in the squad as well. This will also include deadline day in August which anything can happen, especially at this level!

While you are exploring the DP-FM site, go take a look at Louis’ (Co-blogger/creator of DP-FM) challenge where he is embarking on his series ‘Unemployed, Unskilled & Inexperienced’. This entails Louis starting from the bottom of his management career with no coaching badges and low attributes to add to the fun! The link is right here – https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-season-1-episode-1/

Been a pleasure as always guys, we’ll be back soon with episode 2 to get this season underway, take care and stay safe.

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