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Gardner glad to have breathing space
Published : 06 Apr 2009 15:25:24
The 4-1 victory over struggling Middlesbrough lifted Wanderers eight points clear of the relegation zone with seven matches remaining. With five teams between them and the drop zone even the usually cautious manager Gary Megson is relatively confident they will not be caught. And Gardner thinks now the team can play with more freedom and less pressure in the last two months of the season. "It was a massive result. Getting points against a team in and around us was a great result," he said. "I wouldn't say the pressure is off because each week is going to be difficult but it gives us a bit of breathing space and we can start looking forward rather than behind us. "We just want to continue that way and get more and more confident as each game goes by. "I'm happy with my game and I just want to keep on improving." Gardner scored his fourth goal of the season against Boro and is on target to win a charity bet with Megson, who said he would not reach six. The 30-year-old Jamaica international went five Premier League campaigns without scoring before ending his drought against Manchester City in November. Now he is hopeful Megson will be the one paying out for Derian House Children's Hospice at Chorley come the end of May. "I told the manager last week that I was aiming for six goals this season and he told me if I did, he'd give a thousand dollars to Derian House," Gardner said. "If I don't get six, I have to pay up. But I've set my target and I want to do it. Hopefully, he's the one paying." The manager added: "If he does get six it's going to cost me a lot of money, but this is already his best goal-scoring season in the Premier League and when you look at him and the qualities he's got, that's a surprise because I think he can get more and more." Megson also praised one of the major successes of Bolton's season, Matt Taylor. The winger, who joined Wanderers from Portsmouth for £3.5million in January 2008, scored his ninth of the season on Saturday with a 35-yard free-kick from the right touchline which sailed over the defence and in at the far post. "I don't want to sound like I'm blowing smoke up my own backside but he has been a terrific signing for this club," said Megson. "Nine goals from the left wing is excellent, his work-rate is the same. He epitomises what this football club is about. "You might look at the third goal and think it is a fluke. But, for me, that is what he is expected to do."