He told the Sunday Mercury: "It's a big game.
"You would have to say that at the moment Bolton have to be considered as one of the six teams that will be in the relegation battle. The league starts to take shape after five games and it was the same when we played Derby and Sunderland - they will be among the six that are going to be in that battle.
"While I am always optimistic, I need to be realistic and say that it's looking as if we will be one of those clubs looking to defend our Premier League status. The Bolton game will be a six-pointer, especially as it is at home. You need to win six or seven of those games and we haven't won one yet.
"Bolton is a winnable game and it is a must-win game, just as Derby was. You can already see the difference of us winning and Derby losing - straight away you get an edge over your competition.
"Not winning our home games was a major contribution to our relegation last time - plus our misfortune with injuries. Not being able to win at home was vital. Going through to Christmas without winning at home is devastating and we won't want to let that happen this time."