The Insider: Bolton head to Portsmouth as an improving side - on-loan Stoke winger Thibaud Verlinden has been a class act

Republic of Ireland international Daryl Murphy joined Bolton earlier this month
Republic of Ireland international Daryl Murphy joined Bolton earlier this month
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Marc Iles, chief football writer at The Bolton News, gives the lowdown on Pompey's next League One opponents Bolton...

The season only really got going after the Football Ventures takeover was complete and Keith Hill was appointed as manager, replacing Phil Parkinson.

It's not been easy so far.

You're talking about two different teams at this stage of the season.

There was one that started the season, which was mainly made up of youngsters from the under-18s, with just four senior players at the club.

But manager Hill brought in nine new faces prior to the transfer window closing.

It was inevitable those recruited needed time to bed in, which was evident in the 6-1 defeat at Rotherham.

But things are starting to take shape now.

The home draw against Oxford was solid, but there was some disappointment they weren't able to see it out against Sunderland after Aiden McGeady's late penalty meant it ended 1-1.

There is a lot of ground to make up given the 12-point deduction after the club entered administration in the summer.

But I don't think supporters are going to be thinking 'we're just happy to have a club to support’.

Investment has been made in some good players, there’s still realistic expectations this season.

Republic of Ireland international Daryl Murphy is now at the club and Liam Bridcutt has been at Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Brighton.

Jason Lowe has also remained from last season, the squad is competitive.

Belgian winger Thibaud Verlinden has been a class act since arriving on loan from Stoke.

He really seems to have the bit between his teeth and appears to want to make full use of his spell with the club.

Hill's side head to Fratton Park an improving side and the tricky winger is certainly one to look out for.