We went to the Macron Stadium looking to make it six wins on the spin, but I don’t think a point is the worst result in the world. A lot of the teams around us failed to win, with Derby, Bristol City and Cardiff all drawing, so I don’t really look at our game as two points dropped. It keeps the run going which is a good thing. I’ve always said if you can win your home games and pick up some points away from home then you’ll be on to a winner, and that’s what we’re doing at the moment. Having gone 1-0 up we wanted to come away with the win, but a draw away from home against a team fighting for their lives, I’d consider that a good point.
We missed a few opportunities to win the game, but the good thing is that we are creating the chances. If we weren’t doing that and we weren’t in the game then that would be a concern, but we are scoring goals and creating loads of openings. So it is disappointing in the sense that we didn’t finish the game off but Bolton is a tricky place to go, especially with them hitting form lately. Credit to Matt Targett for scoring his first professional goal as well. He’s slotted seamlessly into the team and has settled really quickly. He’s very competent on the ball, defensively he’s very good, and his presence there frees up Ryan Sessegnon at the other end of the pitch, and we all know how deadly he can be in front of goal. So all in all, Matty is proving to be a very good signing.
We are nine games unbeaten now so the momentum is still ticking along nicely ahead of some big games we’ve got coming up. Our next four matches are Villa, Bristol City, Wolves and Derby, so we could be in a real strong position if we rack up some decent points from those. I think we need to look at each of our home fixtures as must-win, because if we do that then we’re definitely going to be very close to second spot come the end of the season.
Villa are first up and they are on a good run of form, but they’re not unbeatable. It will be a good game, what the Championship’s all about. It’s a big six-pointer, if we can win that then it brings us closer to them and closer to that automatic spot. If we can start the game well, get on the front foot and create some chances – and take them – then you’d fancy us. Beating the teams in and around you is so important, and that’s the same whether you’re in a relegation battle or fighting for promotion. So if we can beat the teams in and around us at the top of the league then we stand a great chance.
Villa are the only side in better form than us, so they’re going to be hard to beat and obviously they’ve got a lot of firepower going forward, even if they haven’t scored as many goals as we have. We’re at home so I would make us the favourites – we’re nine games unbeaten, let’s make it 10. You can only take each game as it comes and the next one is a massive one. Villa are flying high, they’ve gone into the automatic spots and they’re not going to want to give that up easily, so we’re going to have to out-battle them. Be stronger, win the second balls, and keep a clean sheet.
While victory would be a real statement of intent, it’s not the end of the world if we don’t win, we’d just dust ourselves off and go again, but Saturday is one that I’m really looking forward to. The fans will be there in their droves and the atmosphere in the stadium is going to be electric. Let’s make the Cottage our 12th man.