Match Preview: Bolton v Burnley

Chris Brunskill

Tuesday night at the Reebok sees Wanderers face local rivals Burnley....

Struggling Bolton Wanderers welcome near neighbours Burnley to the Reebok this Tuesday night in what has become yet another massive must-win game for the home side.

The 116th meeting of the two sides brings about the teams at very differing ends of the footballing spectrum.

Unfashionable and unfancied Burnley have spent the majority of the season close to the top of the Championship in their fourth consecutive season in the division, whereas the more recently successful Bolton have found themselves struggling through the entire season.

Burnley, managed by former Watford boss Sean Dyche have been one of the surprise teams of the 2013/14 season, with the goals of Danny Ings and Sam Vokes leading the Clarets to a season which, regardless of whether it ends in promotion, has been a success.

The loss of previous season's top scorer Charlie Austin to QPR has been helped along by the form of Ings and Vokes who have both recorded career-high numbers of goals.

The pragmatic and somewhat gruff manager Dyche has had a tough task in winning over certain elements of the Burnley fanbase. However, whether or not you have concerns over the style of play, you cannot argue with his results.

The skill of getting the most of a somewhat average group of players is a rare one amongst managers, indeed our very own Dougie Freedman must look enviously at his Burnley counterpart who not only is overachieving but who is doing so working under the same constraints that Freedman finds so debilitating at the Reebok Stadium.

Bolton too will be looking to win the game - despite our own poor form of late. The season is not getting any younger and we must start to string wins together in order to both avoid the drop and to finish the season on something of a positive note ahead of a vital summer for the club.

The two sides met on the opening day of the season, with Darren Pratley equalising following Ings' first half striker. Since then, of course, the two sides have had differing fortunes in the league.

Last Five Meetings

26.01.2010 - Bolton Wanderers 1 v 0 Burnley (Lee Chung Yong)

21.09.2010 - Burnley 1 v 0 Bolton Wanderers

18.08.2012 - Burnley 2 v 0 Bolton Wanderers

09.02.2013 - Bolton Wanderers 2 v 1 Burnley (Craig Davies, David Ngog)

03.08.2013 - Burnley 1 v 1 Bolton Wanderers (Darren Pratley)

Prediction

Tough.

Very tough.

Would accept a draw at this stage, but a point is no longer acceptable. We have to win.

I truly hope we have it in us.

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