Warnock's options for the match were limited by a virus that cost him the services of Jerome Thomas and Luke Varney, and he played Paul Green, Ross McCormack and keeper Paddy Kenny despite them being less than 100%.
And he was left to celebrate moving within two points of the play-offs when Luciano Becchio scored from the penalty spot in the 65th minute with what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
"In the circumstances I can't be any prouder of the lads or praise them enough for the effort they put in," said Warnock.
"It wasn't a classic but it was all about desire. We were a bit nervous in the first half.
"When you get the drubbing we did at Hull it knocks the stuffing out of you but we grafted in there today and the best move of the match led to the penalty.
"On paper Bolton have a far better team than us but you don't win matches on paper."