At the moment, that back four is not very good. However, they could be. What they need is cohesion and a leader. What they need is a goalkeeper that is not afraid to raise his voice.
We have moaned, groaned, cried, and screamed about Bolton's defense over the last 18 months. Over the last 59 games, they have allowed a total of 109 goals or an average of 1.85 goals per game. In the Premier League, Bolton allowed an average of 2.2 goals every game while thus far in the Championship, the number has fallen to 1.52 goals per game. In Dougie Freedman's eight games in charge, the goals allowed per game average is at just 1.25.
The players that Bolton have should be able to succeed in the Championship. Just look at Zat Knight: a veteran that was much bemoaned for his lack of positioning sense, pace, and skill in the Premier League that has emerged as the team's best defender in the Championship. The issue isn't necessarily the quality of the personnel in Bolton's ranks, it's how that personell works together.
For a good example of this, look at Huddersfield Town's second goal against Bolton Wanderers last weekend. Zat Knight allowed forward Alan Lee to get on the wrong side of him. This sucked Tim Ream in as he tried to cover but Lee's first time pass to James Vaughan allowed the striker to take it wide and find the bottom corner from a ridiculous angle. There isn't much that you can blame TIm Ream for on the goal as had he not moved in to cover, Lee would have had a chance on goal right from center, having the inside track on Knight.
You often see it in the world's most successful sides. They have large, menacing keepers whose relative size is only made bigger by their ability to get loud. Peter Schmeichel, Oliver Kahn, Neville Southall, Edwin van der Sar, Gianluigi Buffon, and a number of others are quintessential examples of this.
Picture it this way: you're a forward that's just been sent through on goal and you're one-on-one with any of the goalkeepers mentioned above (you pick). It won't be so easy being calm, cool, and collected, will it?
The goalkeeper often has the best view of the entire field of play and that's why so many captain their sides. By being behind the play, they have the best vantage point of what is going on, what is coming right at them, and what the other potential threats are.
Herein lies Adam bogdan's problem. The 25-year-old Hungarian is a brilliant shot-stopper (as evidenced in his save on James Vaughan's shot at the death), there isn't much questioning that. Yet, we often talk about his inability to take control of the situation. It's not often that you hear Bogdan raise his voice or direct his back line like Jussi did.
It isn't necessarily Bogdan's job to be a shouty goalkeeper or to lead the line but it's certainly something that would help. Bolton Wanderers are missing a leader at the back and Adam Bogdan should be the one asserting his position.