Bolton must aim to lift a feeling of "depression" around the club, says former Wanderers manager Sam Allardyce.
Neil Lennon's side sit bottom of the Championship after 12 games and have won just once so far this season.
Bolton boss Lennon has said his squad was lacking in quality and they are searching for new players.
"Obviously the financial side of the club is in crisis at the minute, I think we all know that," Allardyce, 61, told BBC Radio Manchester.
"Neil has to work with the tools that he's got and the next couple of players he gets in, whether they be on loan or permanently, have to make a massive difference.
"There is a depression that lies over the club that Neil has to try to lift from the players particularly to get more out of them.
"It is a difficult situation for him, they don't have any money but his job is to extract the most out of those players and make sure they don't get relegated this year."
Allardyce, who took over at Premier League side Sunderland earlier this month, spent seven years as a player at Bolton as well as eight years as manager.
"For me, living in the town most of my life and the time I've spent at the club, the position they are in is pretty devastating," he added.
"If they can't avoid relegation this season I think there would a huge question on whether they would get back to where they want to be, and that's obviously to compete to get back in the Premier League."