Saturday, January 23, 2021

Wanderers’ rejuvenation under Hill’s ‘new’ philosophy

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Tom Beresford
Sports journalist. Non-League football reporter. YouTuber, presenter, podcast host. Previously heard on FiveLive and Love Sport Radio. Managed by Epic Sports Management

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Bolton Wanderers are playing with a ‘new’ dynamic under the guidance of former-Rochdale boss, Keith Hill and David Flitcroft, that is evident.

As for the Bolton-born manager, he’s fulfilling a lifetime’s ambition managing his childhood club, and after being out of work for five months, Hills appointment at the University of Bolton Stadium came at good time for him, and the football club after a barren period for Bolton with their financial worries.

As the Lancashire-based club look to get back to where they’d like to be, Hill’s certainly creating a new-look and dynamic to the football club, which has pleased fans who’ve been there through the bad times as of late. With three defeats and three draws since his appointment, the signs have been positive in terms of what Hill and Flitcroft are trying to do at the football club.

And with Hill’s former club Rochdale visiting the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday afternoon, both the former-Rochdale boss and his staff will be looking for a positive reaction from his players after some impressive displays against Blackpool and Sunderland recently.

The Bolton boss spoke to the Bolton News earlier on in the week, and admits that the Bolton Wanderers managerial position was the perfect fit for him.

“I turned jobs down because they just didn’t feel right,” said Hill – avoiding a direct reference to the Shakers out of respect. “There was always something in the back of my mind and I knew the next move had to be the right one from a football perspective.

“When Bolton became available, I just thought ‘I have got to do everything I can to get in front of Sharon (Brittan)’.

“I don’t have big football mates who can do favours for me and get me in front of people. That leaves me a bit vulnerable sometimes.

“Actually getting in front of people you need mates in influential positions within football but this was something we really wanted to do and we got the job done.

“I still think this job ticks every single box on what I have done in my career as a manager.

“I still see it as an unbelievable opportunity to develop a new playing identity and getting a whole town buying into it and believing it.

“I live in Bolton and I want to socialise in Bolton, my family is here. I have no fear going out in the town because I put everything of myself, and so does David (Flitcroft), into the job we’re doing.”

“For whatever reason the jobs didn’t appeal and I am sat here because of the 12 years I have done in management. The CV stacks up for the demands of this football club right here, right now. If it was in the Championship I wouldn’t be here, I don’t think.

“But the situation the club and the owners find themselves in at the moment – my CV stacks up against anybody’s anywhere in the game. I back myself on that.

“Money spent, players developed, we are the right management team and we’ll put it back on course.”

In terms of the shape and availability of his current squad, Hill has a blend of youth and experience with the remainder of the u23 players such as Ronan Darcy and Dennis Politic, and then at the other end of the spectrum – the likes of 36-year old, Daryl Murphy.

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