Ahead of another home match against a side battling relegation, Andrew Lawn spoke to Lion of Vienna Suite's Ed to talk Yanic, Remi and the Bolton of old....
Andy - Let's start by looking at the season as a whole. You started like a continental, publicly-owned train full of efficiency, and then, like a Southern Rail train appeared to grind spectacularly to a halt. What's been the story of your season?
Ed, Lion of Vienna Suite - One thing Wanderers have been guilty of in recent seasons is starting slow. Especially last season, having had just two points after eleven games.
So, it was great to start in the manner we did this season, especially considering the opposition we played in the opening few games.
Since taking ten points from four games, we've taken eight from sixteen. Our best start at this level since 2000 has been obliterated by one of the longest winless runs in the clubs history.
Can you put your finger on what went wrong? It seemed, just looking at results, that you were being very efficient in soaking up pressure and hitting teams on the break?
That's the style that Phil Parkinson has preferred since he became manager in 2016.
When we're able to score first, it's likely that we'll get something from the game. If we don't, we're likely to lose.
The main problem has been the lack of goals, we just don't look like scoring. We only scored once in October and then again once in November.
We have been quite tight at the back but given our desire to keep the ball and commit men forward, we can occasionally look vulnerable on the break.
However, luckily for us, you have Yanic Wildschut who has the pace and touch of Usain Bolt. Like the team, Yanic seemed to start well and then fade away. How do you feel the man with the tree-trunk thighs has done?
Yanic started off by scoring two winners in August and looked to be a great signing for the season. Sadly, he seems to be a confidence player and with the team underperforming, his early season form has disappeared.
He's similar to Sammy Ameobi, you've seen flashes of brilliance from him but he doesn't show it enough.
How about the other player we sent north in the summer? There were high hopes in Norfolk that Remi Matthews was going to step up and be our Number 1 this season, but a shaky pre-season appeared to lead us to opt for more experience in Tim Krul and suddenly Remi had gone from heir-apparent to surplus to requirements. 3 league appearances, plus one in the cup, doesn't suggest he has nailed down a place?
Remi Matthews was signed essentially as a backup to our number one goalkeeper, Ben Alnwick, whose form was integral to us staying up last season.
When Alnwick got injured in September, Matthews stepped in and did well. He kept a clean sheet against Derby and was praised for his distribution. I wouldn't be against seeing Matthews have another stint between the sticks, but Alnwick hasn't done anything to warrant being dropped.
What about the rest of the side, what or who should we be wary of?
Our right back, Pawel Olkowski, has just forced his way back into the Polish international side. On his day, he looks better than most players in our team.
Joe Williams, Josh Magennis and Sammy Ameobi are all players who could make a difference when on form.
Impressive. With our own little superstar at RB in Max Aarons, we could rename this the RB derby. Maybe introduce a little trophy.
Moving on, what, if anything have you made to our sudden (and unexpected) ascent to the summit?
Considering that you sold James Maddison to Leicester City and the start you had, I definitely didn't see you being top of the table at the start of December.
But you can't deny it's entirely deserved.
Teemu Pukki has hit the ground running and you've been playing some great football.
We have a much more balanced squad this season and are less reliant on one player producing one moment of quality.
Back to Bolton, like many others I suspect, when I think of Bolton I think of Sam Allardyce and the Arsenal-baiting, Kevin Davies, Jay-Jay, Ivan Campo days. Tell us something we don't know about the club?
I'll try and say something positive...
We won the first game ever played at Wembley, beating West Ham United 2-0 in the 1923 FA Cup final. Now known as 'The White Horse final' because of policeman George Scorey and his Grey horse Billy, who managed to help clear the crowds of people on the pitch so the game could start.
The player who opened the scoring, David Jack, was bought and sold by Wanderers for World Record fees.
Nice, they're some claims to fame. I imagine the fee back then was about £3,000? We're also intrigued. What was the bad thing you steered clear of?
We bought him for £3,500 in 1920 & sold him to Arsenal in 1928 for around £10,500, the first five figure fee in world football.
Interesting titbit, the Arsenal representative sorting the transfer got the Bolton exec drunk to lower the fee. Whilst Wanderers' rep was drinking gin and tonic all night, Herbert Chapman sneakily remained sober. Imagine Unai Emery trying that today...
The bad thing was the fact that Bolton have spent the longest time in the top flight without ever winning it. Some feat.
A decent return that, despite the gin.
On another note, the Macron/Reebok has changed name a few times, since you left Burnden Park for it. Having been at Carrow Road for getting on for 90 years, it's never been an issue for us, but how long does it take to get used to a new ground name?
At the end of the day, it's just a name. The Reebok will always be the stadium’s spiritual home, given the companies link to the town.
Finally let's do a very specific prediction for the game.
I am going for another comeback win. Yanic will nick one on the break midway through the first half, scuffing a shot and bobbling it over Krul. We'll then up it again in the second-half. Emi Buendia will kick-start it, whipping a free-kick into the top bin before Jordan Rhodes rises from the bench to nod home from 2 yards. 2-1 City.
Think Yanic would be ineligible to play against his parent club. Jordan Rhodes is guaranteed to score against us. He'll get one early, within the first ten minutes. Our game plan will be thrown out of the window, as we can never recover from conceding first. It'll be a comfortable victory for the Canaries. Pukki will grab a brace. 3-0 Norwich.
Is that still a thing you can enforce? I'm sure such things were outlawed? In my unofficial capacity, I officially don't mind, you can play him.
Rhodes is unlikely to start, but your fear of him is pleasing and Teemu is pleasing. Let's hope you're right
I doubt Yanic would play anyway if he wasn't ineligible, been out of favour for a while.