I began by analyzing my training schedule and had to work out preferred tactics for my squad. I set up three for preparation, these being a simple 4-4-2 diamond, 4-4-2 and 5-4-1. Depending on the squad after the first few Pre-Season friendlies, I may rethink the stratergy and make
either the 4-4-2 or 4-4-2 diamond into a more attacker friendly tactic.
I was quite happy with my current squad, however with my tight transfer budget I was still going to squeeze the funds out of it, to try and strengthen the team and bolster for the future. I notified the board that I would attempt to go for a Top Half finish, which is achievable, and was promptly given 1.4 million (AUD) and a wage budget of 4.3 million (AUD).
Out of my current squad I was quite excited to utilize the skills of loan import Rodrigo, a 19 year old Spaniard from Benfica.
I was however in the market for a left back in order to keep strength in the backline, so I decided to approach club-less Michael Ball, former Manchester City and Rangers defender. According the the media report, I was close to signing Ball, until Middlesbrough swooped in with a late contract offer, followed after by a contract from Fulham. With this stiff competition I was no longer confident in signing Ball, and cautiously scouted other options.
With my first press-conference completed, I remained quite quiet and answered questions that only needed to be said. I still believe that giving away very little is good to prevent opponents to have the chance to take a quite swipe. I refused to give away any of my transfer policy, as to not arouse suspicion in my future transfer targets. I have already been labelled as a media-friendly boss, which is always good. Having the media on my side can be something of an asset at times.
I used my first Intra-Squad friendly as a chance to bump out the kinks in the squad after the pre-season, and test out my 4-4-2 Diamond Formation. I stuck with a strong first eleven, in hopes to see whether the squad would blend well to my formation.
Bolton vs Bolton Reserves
The County Ground, Preston
Ricardo Gardner (16)
Fabrice Muamba (21)
I was happy with the performance from the Bolton First Team considering it was a match directly after the pre-season. The team passed well and defended well, however they were unable to control the midfield with any conviction. We were down on Possession as the squad was not able to string together plays from the midfield. Both goals originated from the wings, with one being a corner, and the other being a link up between the left back and left midfielder. I was very concerned at the level of fitness demonstrated, with both Ivan Klasnic and Rodrigo injuried in the friendly match.
Post match I was pleased when Matty Taylor's agent announced that his client was not interested in a move to Fulham, which means one less player to worry about replacing.