Match Preview: Leeds United v Bolton Wanderers

Paul Thomas

After two successive encouraging performances Dougie Freedman takes his Wanderers side across The Pennines to face Brian McDermott’s Leeds United. Bolton will be looking to build on the fantastic result against local rivals Blackburn Rovers with goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz, Joe Mason, Jay Spearing and Andre Moritz securing a comfortable 4-0 win for The Trotters, their biggest win over Rovers for over 80 years.

Despite their recent upturn in fortunes, Bolton are still without a win in their previous 5 away fixtures with their last result a 1-1 draw at Millwall. Leeds have not entertained their Elland Road faithful in over a month with their last result being a disappointing 1-1 draw against Ipswich Town, this was preceded by two successive home defeats against Leicester City and Blackburn Rovers respectively.

Opponents Leeds United enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, aided in no small measure by the goals of influential captain Ross McCormack who leads the division's scoring charts with 23 goals. Despite this, the Yorkshiremen have seen the play-off hopes welt with a recent dip in form, they are now 8 points behind 6th place, currently occupied by Wigan Athletic.

After another encouraging display, Bolton are likely to name a similar, if not unchanged line-up for Saturday's tie, although Andre Moritz may be used from the start as he frequently has done so in games away from the comforts of The Reebok Stadium. Recent Loan signing Alan Hutton could also make his first appearance for Bolton.
Speaking ahead of the game to The Bolton News, manager Dougie Freedman was keen for his not to get carried away with the result

"Sportsmen allow their feelings to get too high sometimes and too low sometimes, that's just a pitfall of the profession ... it's in their blood because they are committed people.

So it's down to us, the coaches, to make sure that when they come into work, they know they are there to do just that.''

For Leeds United, talented loan signings Jack Butland and Connor Wickham are likely to make their home debuts but their will be no reunion with Former Wanderers Cult Hero El-Hadji Diouf with the 33 year-old Senegalese Forward currently out of the picture for Leeds.

In front of the Sky cameras, the promising signs of a Wickham and McCormack partnership were plain to see and whilst speaking to the Leeds United Official Website, McDermott outlined his own excitement.

"The shape of the team is better and with Connor coming in, he made a big difference on Saturday. I thought that the combination between Connor and Ross was automatic and very natural. They did some really good things and Connor was unlucky not to score himself. He is a really good young player. And Ross McCormack answered everything that you need to know about Ross McCormack.''

McDermott and McCormack have both been central figures in the latest off-field turmoil to hit the Yorkshire Club. With a potential takeover touted, McDermott appeared to be sacked late on Transfer Deadline Day which prompted captain Ross McCormack to announce his disproval and secure a late move away from the club. McDermott's position was soon restored and the takeover talks remain protracted with numerous sources reporting a possible collapse, although this is unconfirmed.

Selected betting for the game sees Leeds United 6/5 whilst Bolton Wanderers are available for 9/4 and the draw can also be secured at 9/4

Adult tickets for the game are available for £24.

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