By now, it's become incredibly (and annoyingly) obvious that Bolton's strikers have not been very good by any stretch of the imagination. To say that they have been struggling for goals is up there as one of the understatements of the last decade. With ten matches gone and no goals from the forwards from them as of yet, something has to give.
Thus far, Dougie Freedman has only really been able to play David Ngog or Jermaine Beckford up front and although both forwards have come close to finally breaking their respective ducks on numerous occasions, neither has actually gone and done it. Beckford can't seem to solidly hit an effort or make up his mind in order to take advantage of the one-on-one chances he earns for himself while David Ngog's targeting system needs to be calibrated. The French striker seems to be able to either only hit it wide or directly at the goalkeeper, neither of which has provided fruitful results for Bolton.
With Tom Eaves on loan, Zach Clough completely untested, and Craig Davies injured, the manager has not been spoiled for choice in the forward department. That will change a little bit with this weekend's match against Birmingham City which will see Craig Davies make his return to the squad for the first time since the Blackburn Rovers loss, some five matches ago. It was at the end of that match that Davies suffered an ankle injury, one that his kept him out of some crucial ties in which Bolton have gone scoreless.
Davies, in his five appearances thus far this season (one start, four off the bench), has been unable to do any better than Bolton's other forwards but he also offers something different. The benefit of playing Craig Davies is his shoot-on-sight mentality, something that Bolton's other forwards have completely lacked this season. This may be the key for the Trotters.
Unfortunately for Craig Davies, he hasn't done much of that shooting on sight stuff in his short outings. We can simply hope that his injury absence will have renewed that desire. In five appearances totaling just 117 minutes, Craig Davies has averaged less than one shot per match (0.6), which is very unlike him. Last season, he more than doubled that figure in his half-season at Bolton and quadrupled it while at Barnsley.
Craig Davies does have some history at St. Andrews. While playing for the Tykes last season, his side won away resoundingly at Birmingham City, beating the Blues by 0-5 total with four goals from the striker.
Dougie Freedman has confirmed the striker's inclusion in the side to the official website, saying:
"Craig Davies is back and available for this weekend. He's trained all last week and has looked good this week."
We doubt this means a start for for the striker but hopefully Bolton Wanderers are not in a position to need him off the bench.