clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Match Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Leicester City

David Ngog got the Dougie Freedman Era off to a flyer on Saturday, scoring two good goals (one was wrongly disallowed) and winning a penalty. But Ngog is suspended for Tuesday's visit from Leicester City, and Dougie Freedman has only had a few days to conjure a new bag of tricks.

Hopefully we will see more of this in the coming weeks.
Hopefully we will see more of this in the coming weeks.
Clive Brunskill

Leicester City currently sit fourth in the nPower Championship, with twenty-five points from fourteen matches. This puts them seven points and thirteen places ahead of the Mighty Bolton Wanderers. Both sides have scored the same number of goals (21), but Bolton have conceded twenty-three while Leicester have only allowed fourteen.

And there you have it. We already know the difference between the two clubs. We already know the reason why Leicester sit in the playoff spots and Bolton do not. Leicester have only conceded one goal per match. In this division, only Brighton & Hove Albion have done better, with eleven goals allowed, which is outstanding.

There have been some cracks in the Foxes defense recently though, as they have lost their last two matches, both by 2-1 scores. They will have to further shuffle the back four at the Reebok due to injuries and suspensions. Given this, Dougie may want to adjust his attacking personnel.

And I think he will. Everything we heard about Dougie before he came, and everything he has said since he came, indicates that he is a manager who likes to use his squad. So I think we will probably see two or three changes from Saturday's starting XI. Some candidates;

Kevin Davies; Opinion is a bit split on Super Kev, but even his staunchest defender has to admit that older players, especially ones who have taken the beatings Davies has over the years, take longer to recover. Given that, bringing him off the bench in a midweek game might even allow him to give a better performance when he is well-rested the following Saturday. No matter Freedman's reasoning, I think there is a good chance either Marvin Sordell or Benik Afobe start against Leicester.

Chung-Yong Lee; Still not at his best, and Martin Petrov gave a sterling performance when he came on as a sub. Chris Eagles is unlikely to be dropped, and I don't see Freedman playing all three at once, so Lee could make way for the Bulgarian.

Darren Pratley; Obviously not fit enough to play 90 minutes yet, and Jay Spearing is a talented lad who will be pushing hard for a recall.

Keith Andrews; Hard to see him as an automatic choice, and we are still a little unclear on whether Freedman will stick with one formation or change things around. Andrews does have some positive attributes, but versatility isn't really one of them.

Samuel Ricketts; Sam Ricketts always seems to do a decent job at any position along the back four, but the truth is he is most useful as a fifth defender, filling in as needed then dropping back out before his weaknesses can be exposed. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Tyrone Mears back at right back, or even young Joe Riley to get a shot.

Stephen Warnock; Opinion is divided on Marcos Alonso, but he is fit once again and pushing for a recall. The two have very different strengths and weaknesses. I could see Dougie playing Alonso when he wants a more attacking option, and Warnock when he needs a workmanlike defensive performance.

i would be shocked if at least one, and more likely two changes aren't made to the starting XI. I particularly think Spearing would be helpful, because Bolton are going to want to maintain possession against this side that is very stingy at the back. They will need that possession to break them down, of course, but Wanderers will also be digging themselves a very deep hole if they concede an early goal. Bolton have made several comebacks in the last few weeks, but you can only go to that well so many times.

This should be a tight match. All the pundits have been saying all season that Bolton have a squad that should easily challenge for automatic promotion. It's time to start proving it.