Bolton Wanderers manager Keith Hill wants his players to rest up and evaluate their season so far over the next few days, with the club not set to play this weekend.
With Leagues One and Two out of action for the FA Cup second round – which Bolton are already out of following a first-round defeat to Plymouth – the club had been hoping to rearrange their EFL Trophy tie at Accrington Stanley for Saturday afternoon.
That is now not going to happen however, and explaining the situation around that game, Hill told the Bolton News: “Personally, I wanted to play this weekend, as a club we wanted the game to be played, and Accrington did as well.
“But unfortunately because of police advice we were not able to do it.”
Explaining how the club will approach their weekend off instead, Hill continued: “So I think it’s a time for evaluation. We’ve been together for 12 weeks, it has been an unbelievable learning curve, and I feel like it’s time for the players to have a little rest.
“They have been climbing mountains for me, they really have. It has been a good week’s training, we’ve met with them as a group and in evaluation meetings individually so this is a good time to repair some damage, rest the mind, then we go into a really influential part of the season.”
The failure to schedule a game this weekend does mean that the club do face the prospect of a fixture pile-up later in the season, although Hill is trying to remain optimistic about his side’s situation, as he continued: “There are 29 games to play, it’s okay to dream but you have got to do something about it, there has got to be some positive action – and some positive luck as well, I suppose.
“We are planning for the 29, and then next season’s 46. I honestly would rather play Saturday-Tuesday to the end of the season, I really would, because it keeps you ticking over.
“We have had too many cancellations, postponements. This free week is a good one, it came at a good time, but I would rather keep busy.”
One way Bolton could help themselves cope with that busy schedule is with the addition of some new players to the side in the January transfer window, and it seems that is something Hill is already starting to think about, as he concluded: “January is a big opportunity to improve, to make this squad stronger, not just for this season but for next season as well.”
I think a break is probably a useful thing for Bolton to take right now.
It has already been a challenging few months for them given the circumstances, and you imagine things are only going to get even tougher with this potential pile-up of fixtures.
As a result, giving his side a break now does seem like a smart approach from Hill, since it gives them the chance to come back refreshed and ready to go again for that next big push in a week’s time.
Indeed, with January already coming into consideration for Bolton, it seems as though it may not be long until they receive a welcome boost to their hopes of an unlikely great escape this season.