After another toothless performance against fellow strugglers, Aston Villa – that saw Bolton fall to their fifth defeat in six games – could a radical new look turn the season around?

Bolton boss Phil Parkinson’s current obsession with playing hoof-ball to one lone target man simply isn’t working. Bolton have the third lowest possession stats in the division and the poor results to match, with only three goals scored in the last 10 games.

But with a very limited budget and players who are mostly freebies, what can Parkinson realistically do to rectify Bolton’s dismal form before calls from some fans to see his head roll get too loud to ignore?

5-3-2 (or 3-5-2) is a formation that came in and out fashion in English club football faster than Sam Allerdyce’s England career. It saw Chelsea win the Premier League and FA Cup under Antonio Conte and a whole host of teams trying to emulate its success across the country. Bolton themselves got promoted from League One using this very formation, so who says it can’t work wonders for the Wanderers now?

Too much of Bolton’s play this season has involved lacklustre long balls up to the lonely figure of Josh Magennis, but with no support from the lagging midfield it usually results in lost possession and an opposition counter-attack, but add a second striker into the mix and a midfielder willing to get forward and Magennis suddenly has support to build an attack.

Plus, adding an extra man in defence to help the ageing duo of David Wheater and Mark Beevers would surely stabilise what has been a leaky defence so far this year.

In the desperate times Bolton find themselves in, joint bottom in goals scored and only one win in 12, a risk is surely worth taking.

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