The hard-working former England striker was a thorn in the side of countless defences during his time in the Premier League with Wanderers and he twice found room from corners on Tuesday night to prove he has the heart for the battle in the second tier.
After opening the scoring in the 13th minute, he had to rescue his side with 10 minutes to go after Leeds had turned things around thanks to Sam Byram’s goal and Luciano Becchio’s penalty.
It was no more than Bolton deserved on a night when they should have been out of sight by the half-time interval. Errant finishing from all bar Davies left the door open for Leeds, though, and their manager Neil Warnock must have thought his side were set for a fourth successive win.
But a tactician of his experience will know better than most that a player of Davies’ experience should not be left alone in the area and he will rue a game his side let slip from their grasp.
Davies had given them plenty of warning with all the early play being funnelled through him, as it has been at the Reebok throughout his decade of service.
Early on his hold-up play led to Chris Eagles testing Paddy Kenny from distance, before he took matters into his own hands to give his side the lead, working room in the box to get a free header on Eagles’ corner for his third goal of the season and Bolton’s 100th in competitive play against Leeds.
It should have been 101 on several occasions after that, with Keith Andrews failing to make the most of a free shot on the edge of the box and Benik Afobe shooting wide when through on Kenny’s goal.
In between Eagles had thumped the post with an outside-of-the-boot effort and it was clear that Leeds needed to wake up if they were to hang on.
Fortunately for them Byram was impressing and he registered their first effort with a curling shot across the goal, before he levelled in the 44th minute.
Bolton’s fans are well aware of El-Hadji Diouf’s qualities after his 138 appearances for them across a four-year stint at the club and it was his well-weighted 44th-minute free-kick that Byram got a back header to a minute before the break.
If Bolton felt short-changed at half-time then they could have done without the start to the second half that they had.
Diouf’s clever reverse pass set Byram free and even though he was going away from goal, Matt Mills opted to shove him over and Phil Dowd pointed to the spot, allowing Becchio to roll in his eighth goal of the season.
The home fans were quick to articulate their thoughts about their side’s collapse, but only a fine Kenny save and Lee Peltier’s subsequent block prevented Mark Davies and then Afobe getting Bolton level.
And with Kevin Davies in their ranks Bolton were unlikely to be cut adrift and with 10 minutes left on the clock he again made himself available to get on the end of a Martin Petrov corner and equalise.
It was anyone’s game after that and Leeds came closest to a deciding goal when Diouf beat Adam Bogdan with a curling shot from the edge of the box – but the bar, perhaps justly, came to Bolton’s rescue.