O'Brien looks to tighten up

Trotters must plug leaky defence

O'Brien: Aware of problems

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Defender Andy O'Brien believes solid foundations are vital to Bolton's survival bid this season.

The Trotters currently sit 13th in the Premier League table but, with the battle at the bottom incredibly tight, remain only two points clear of the relegation zone.

Four consecutive defeats have hardly helped their cause, preventing them from building on a positive push earlier in the season which saw them climb into seventh spot.

After comprehensively seeing off Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on 29th November, the Trotters were only five points adrift of Manchester United in third.

However, a leaky defence has conceded 13 goals in seven games and centre-half O'Brien is all too aware that eradicating those problems is crucial if Gary Megson's men are to prevail in the battle against the drop.

"We work hard to keep clean sheets and we have not done that of late," he said.

"We know this is a results business. You would accept playing poorly every week and getting the results.

Results

"Unfortunately we are doing all right but we are not getting the results and it is results which count.

"We need to string a couple of results together now to get ourselves back in that top half."

Megson has seen his squad decimated in recent weeks, but remains fully stocked at the back.

O'Brien and Gary Cahill currently enjoy first choice status at the heart of the defence, but youngster Chris Basham and loan star Sebastien Puygrenier are pushing hard to dislodge them.

"There is competition for places as Seb came in (against Manchester United on Saturday)," O'Brien told the club's official website.

"You have to work hard to get in the team and work hard to stay in it. If you are not playing well you will get dropped.

"I think Chris Basham has a very big future. He is definitely going to make a living out of the game and it is up to him now whether it is at Premier League level or not."