In the absence of our Bolton press geezer who’s gone mysteriously quiet and hasn’t delivered, our Martin – the good egg that he is – has picked up the ‘preview’ baton…
After a single day stay at a rented training camp in the relentless sunshine of the North West we’re off to what I thought was the Macron but is now apparently the University of Bolton Stadium.
I last went there seemingly eons ago when it was the called the Reebok and we lost 2-0 in a League Cup match. A nice stadium, complete with equally nice people and a really good atmosphere to boot.
So following their narrow and possibly spawny win over Birmingham I wondered what the mood was like in the Trotters’ camp and having had a glance at the Bolton News I discovered that said media outlet’s chief football writer Marc Iles declared:
‘Utterly unexpected but thoroughly deserved, this victory suggests rumours of Wanderers’ demise might just have been a tad premature.
“With just one victory in their last 21 attempts, even the eternal optimists travelled down the M6 expecting to witness another link in the relegation chain. Yet with a team re-shaped by injury and availability, we got exactly the kind of gutsy display we have been craving.”
I also ascertained that Marc had been (temporarily?) banned from the ground by Bolton head honcho Ken Anderson. A concept not unknown to some of our own Archant boys in relatively recent times of course.
On the back of our Preston result Bolton are quite possibly sniffing blood. Yellow and green blood.
But they appear to have only one method of attack: win a corner or a free kick and hoof it in. Possibly a case for the recall of Grant Hanley and the redeployment of Ben Godfrey in midfield? That one’s up to Daniel Farke of course and we also have Kenny McLean and the currently much-maligned Alex Tettey available in that slot.
I’m putting my hands up to robbing this quote from a leading Trotters’ fansite but I’m sure it will resonate with all of us:
‘Where fellow sufferers gather to share the pain, longing and unrequited transfer requests that make being a Wanderer what it is… ‘
In that piece of prosaic poetry, I think the guy who wrote it has said the lot for just about all of us who don’t follow Manchester or London clubs. Transpose the word Wanderer for Canary, Miller, Ram or even Binner if you like.
Anyway, our ex Gary O’Neil and also Marc Wilson are likely to be unavailable tomorrow and they have a couple of long-terms as well as us.
We need a draw as a very minimum.
Keep the faith!
So, the first-leg of our tour of the north-west didn’t quite go to plan, but with the second bite of the cherry only three days hence, we hope for better things from the home of Peter Kaye. Unfortunately, he’s not playing in goal and instead we await a meeting with another ex-City keeper in the form of Remi Matthews. Let’s hope this one goes better than our reunion with Dec…
Penney predicts: Bolton will bark, b0ll0ck, bite and bombard. Maybe one for Grant Hanley with Ben Godfrey moving alongside Tom Trybull? I should gamble to try and pull away from Stew in the MFW table but this time I agree with him. 2-1 City.
Andy assumes: One to get the panic merchants really squirming. 1-1.
Gaz guesses: Hhmm, the sphincter hasn’t stopped twitching since those opening 24 minutes in Preston, but am hoping for a brighter start tomorrow. It’ll be tough. I’m sticking with the Desmond I predicted on Wednesday night. 2-2
Cookie concludes: Saw enough from the 2nd half at Preston to back the boys. Bolton 0-City 3
Stew suspects: Though chastened by my over-optimistic prediction on Wednesday, I reckon we have the belief and quality to bounce back. 2-1 Norwich.
Siri says: Bolton 1-City 1