FORMER Town player Bill McGarry had his old club down as one of the favourites for promotion to the top flight after seeing them become the first club to stop Bolton winning at Burnden Park that season.
But Leeds Road chief Tom Johnston was in more cautious mood after the 1-1 draw in his side’s eighth Second Division match.
With two points available for a win, Johnston’s side had averaged one a match and were third in the table behind Southampton and Coventry City.
They had been beaten twice, away to Bristol City and Crystal Palace, but both times by the odd goal, and had fought out a 2-2 draw against McGarry’s Ipswich at Portman Road.
The former full-back was among a number of managers at Burnden Park – most, it seemed, were checking out wantaway Town winger Mike O’Grady – and he was impressed with what he saw.
“Not too many teams will stop Bolton winning here,” he said after a 30th-minute goal by Tony Leighton, pictured, cancelled out Dennis Butler’s 23rd-minute effort for Wanderers.
“Town are a good, well-balanced team, and they have a great chance this time.”
But Johnston, whose side had beaten Ipswich, Middlesbrough and Bolton at home as well as Leyton Orient away, insisted: “We’ve done okay, but it could have been better still.
“We’ll not get carried away, and we’re not talking about promotion. Let’s see where we are when there are only eight games to go.”
Losing O’Grady certainly wasn’t going to help Town’s cause.
He may have been unsettled, but that didn’t stop the 22-year-old England international left winger producing a scorching display at Bolton, where 16.614 watched.
With Kevin McHale also in fine form on the right, Town ripped the home defence to shreds, but suffered from inaccurate finishing.
Leighton and Les Massie both mis-kicked with the goal at their mercy while influential midfielder Johnny Quigley shot just wide.
While Butler’s goal was poked home after a goalmouth scramble, Leighton, playing his first match of the season after being kept out by Allan Gilliver, who was injured, sidefooted home from McHale’s low cross.
Town centre-back John Coddington did a good job keeping Bolton dangerman Francis Lee quiet while keeper John Oldfield saved well from Butler and Freddie Hill.
Deputy striker John Rudge was among the scorers as Town Reserves enjoyed a 3-0 win over a Newcastle side including Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson, John Craggs and Alan Suddick in a Central League game at Leeds Road.
But the Juniors went down 5-3 to the Magpies in the Northern Intermediate League.