After 5 seasons, my tactics have evolved as we have evolved. I thought I’d make a post to go through the changes. ( A few people had requested to see my tactic after each post)

1st Tactic

Starting with -12 points the aim was survival. So I assessed the current squad and built it around the players we had. The aim of the tactic was to be defensively solid and look to take advantage of set pieces. We had two quick wingers to play on the break and a Target Man to hold the ball up. This tactic worked because we were hard to break down and took our chances.

2nd tactic

We evolved to this second tactic by upgrading our Striker, changing him to the Advanced Forward helped pin back their defenders and changing from Full backs to Wing backs encouraged our defenders to push forward too, We increased the tempo of the team too. This tactic won us promotion via the playoffs. I didn’t change too much due to the squad being pretty much the same and also it proving quite successful at League One level.

3rd Tactic

After we ensured survival in the championship we again evolved. Bringing in better midfielders made us change the midfield 3. Moving the Defensive midfielder to a support duty naturally pushes our midfield further up the pitch. A box to box midfielder helps in box attack and defence and a Mezzala helps increase some creativity. A switch in the striker to a Deep Lying Forward closes the gap between the midfield and attack compacting the team in general.

4th Tactic

Our 4th and current tactic sees our full backs return to full backs this is due to the change from lower defensive line to a higher one. We have also added an Inverted Winger and a Roaming Playmaker in mdifield. As you can see i’ve added the counter team instruction and also we are looking to retain the ball more with the additions of take short kicks and play out of defence. During our poor run last year we were giving the ball away too often in transition by going direct so I wanted to try and ensure we retained the ball and possession giving the opposition less chances to score.

Overall we started quite basic due to our situation and lack of quality and we have gradually progressed closer to the end product. My players have got better over the years meaning I could start to be a bit more attacking now. We have been the underdog in many games in 4 out of the 5 seasons so far and my whole mantra was to be defensively sound. My tactic will probably continue to evolve as we push for promotion from the Championship we will probably have to play more on the front foot. I’ve also made these adjustments due to what I was seeing when watching the games. Spotting areas we were weak or strong in and what we could do to improve it.

As you can see over the 5 seasons I’ve made minor changes not drastic which helps with youth development as I’m not changing the formation every season so the youth players i develop can slot straight into the team.

None of these tactics are groundbreaking or “out there” but they worked for the group of players I had and style I wanted to implement at that time.

If you have any questions feel free to tweet me on twitter @DGear86

Thanks for reading



  • Daniel Gear

    Dan Gear is a vibrant member of the Football Manager (FM) community, renowned for his engaging content and insightful tutorials. He illuminates complex FM concepts on "View From The Touchline" and shares engaging narratives through his unique European Journeyman save reveals. Dan's collaborative spirit shines in partnerships with fellow creators like FM Stag, unraveling new FM features. He's a co-host of the engaging "Grass N Gear" podcast, making the FM experience more enjoyable for many. With a blend of humor, expertise, and a knack for community engagement, Dan Gear's contributions significantly enrich the Football Manager community, making him a cherished figure among enthusiasts.

0 thoughts on “Bolton Wanderers 2019-2023: A Tactical Evolution

  1. Impressive game so far! Having just started with Bolton myself, how and when did you deal with the contract issues whilst balancing the wage budget? Obviously nothing in it and struggle to even sign the youngsters up on on to proper contracts.

Leave a Reply