Owen Coyle might beg to differ, but the September international break came at
just the right time for his stuttering Bolton side and we're backing them to
bounce back from a couple of poor results with a routine win over Watford at
the Reebok on Saturday.
Two weeks is a long time for a manager to stew on mounting speculation about
his position, but it's also ample time to regroup and reflect on the
shortcomings that led to surprise defeats at Crawley and Hull.
Wanderers surrendered leads in both of those matches but their collapse at the KC Stadium could be a watershed that awakens them to the perils of complacency and we expect them to underline the many different factors that make them a highly attractive proposition at 10/11 against the Hornets.
For starters, there's the contrasting levels of continuity in the opposing dressing rooms. Bolton boast eight ever-presents and a further three players who have featured in all four matches, whereas Watford have already called upon 20 different players in their four league outings.
It's unclear what life is going to be like under the Pozzo family for the Hertfordshire club but it's fair to assume that any benefits will be long-term rather than short-term and Zola has his work cut out trying to make sense of a squad that currently consists of 39 players.
The Italian has had a dozen new faces thrust upon him from Udinese and Granada (which begs the question: how good these players are if they're deemed surplus to current requirements at those clubs?) and he must now make adjustments without the steadying influence that was provided skipper Martin Taylor.
Worryingly, the Hornets shipped five goals at Derby in their first game after Taylor's deadline-day departure to Sheffield Wednesday and now former striker Marvin Sordell could pose a much more menacing threat without the experienced 32-year-old to keep him in check.
We should also observe a fairly solid start for the Trotters on home soil. Coyle's men have registered over 20 shots in both of their previous outings against Derby and Nottingham Forest, hitting four goals from 17 on target, so we should rest assured that any lack of understanding in the visiting rearguard will be put to the test.
So long as Bolton tighten up their act at the back, then this ought to be a straightforward exercise for a team that belongs in the automatic promotion hunt against visitors that should be setting their heights no higher than mid-table. And we trust that this is how Coyle has put the past fortnight to good use.
3pts Bolton to beat Watford at 10/11 (Bet365)