Loan Check-In With Jay Spearing

David Rogers

Having spent the majority of the season on loan at Bolton, Jay Spearing is still managing to have a very Liverpool-esque season one division below.

Quick quiz: which club is only a few points back from an important qualifying position in the table, has a fixture against the last place team coming up, and is still optimistic about making a solid run of wins to see out the remainder of the season?

The answer is Bolton Wanderers, and Jay Spearing's host club is experiencing a position not all that dissimilar from that of his actual club. Spearing has spent the season on loan at Bolton, regularly making the starting eleven and finding the substantial playing minutes that have eluded him at Anfield. Bolton currently find themselves in eighth place in the Championship, only two points back of Brighton & Hove Albion sitting in the fourth and final play-off place for possible promotion to the Premier League.

Mathematically speaking, good results in the five remaining matches of the season could catapult Bolton into one of those four play-off places, but perhaps in an effort to show that he's been paying close attention to the sound bites of his compatriots one division up, Spearing insists no one on the team is actually talking about those promotion places.

"We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves," Spearing said. "We're still behind the pack, and we need to concentrate on getting the points game by game. Not one person in the dressing room has mentioned the play-offs, players, staff or the manager. We just say we've got a good opportunity.

“Touch wood, if we get into the play-offs it's going to be a great end to the season and fully deserved as well. Fingers crossed that it works out for us. But not many people are talking about us, and that's a good thing."

"If we keep performing like we are, and picking up the three points, we're going to put pressure on the teams above us."

Concentrating on the football and not talking about what could be is certainly one approach to climbing the table. Like Liverpool, Bolton have introduced a new manager this season, Dougie Freedman, and Spearing puts some of Bolton's struggles earlier in the season down to the usual growing pains of learning how to work in a new system.

"We've all finally got the gaffer's ideas and everybody's picking up on them – how we should play, where we should play. All the details. The first couple of months we didn't perform the way we wanted, now that we are, the lads are all very happy and we'll push on and sneak up there quietly."

All of this should be eerily familiar to Spearing if he ends up returning to Merseyside at the end of the season. There still hasn't been any word on Bolton taking Spearing on a permanent basis, but wee Jay's inability to truly break into the starting eleven at Liverpool strongly suggests that although his heart might be at Anfield, his future lies elsewhere.

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