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Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Sheffield Wednesday

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FOOTBALL IS BACK! FOOTBALL IS BACK! FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL!

Tom Shaw

Saturday sees the 114th meeting between two of the oldest clubs in the land, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday. The first game took place in March 1890, with Wanderers going down a 1-2 revese in a game played at Perry Barr, Birmingham. It would take until 1892 for Bolton to record their first win.

Historically, Wednesday have had the upper hand, recording 52 wins to our 37, with 24 draws in-between.

Wednesday are currently managed by ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton manager Dave Jones, under the chairmanship of Serbian-American businessman Milan Mandarić. Similar to ourselves, Wednesday have experienced a tough start to this season, their second consecutive at Championship level. Currently they lie in 22nd position, without a win in ten league matches to date, though which includes only four defeats, which compares favourably with our own five league losses.

The club experienced a busy summer, with seven permanent incoming transfers, and ten departures. Wednesday have also brought in five loanees, with another four outgoing. The incoming signings include the highly rated winger Jacques Maghoma from Burton Albion, alongside former Manchester City man Jérémy Hélan and former Hull City centre-back Kamil Zayette. Stephen McPhail is another signing with vast Championship experience from his time with Leeds United and 2012/13 league champions Cardiff City.

Roger Johnson has since arrived in on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers with a point to prove following his well-reported troubles lately, as well as former Leicester City striker Matty Fryatt on loan from Hull City. All well-established and respected Championship footballers.

Despite these strong signings, Wednesday are struggling. They lost their opening two league games, both 2-1, away to QPR and at home to Burnley. They then drew four consecutive games against local rivals Leeds United, Millwall, Middlesbrough and 1-1 against Yeovil Town at Hillsborough. Two subsequent losses against Birmingham City and Doncaster Rovers saw fans clamour for Jones' removal as manager, but the chairman has stood firm. Wednesday's last two games have been encouraging 1-1 draws with Brighton & Hovel Albion and away to Ipswich Town.

They have already been knocked out of the League Cup, suffering a first round away defeat to Rotherham United, back in the first week of August.

Wednesday have struggled for goals to date, with only Kamil Zayette, Michail Antonio, Atdhe Nuhiu managing to score more than one.

Ex-Wanderer Jermaine Johnson is a familiar name amongst the Wednesday ranks. The Jamaican winger is fondly recalled by this author, for his explosive cameo appearance against Manchester United back in 2001 - in fact without checking I think he may have even played in that memorable 2-1 win at Old Trafford. Johnson spent 2001-03 at the Reebok alongside compatriot Ricardo Gardner, but in that time only started ten games and came on as substitute in another nine, without troubling the scorekeepers, before moving to Oldham Athletic and Bradford City before his move to Wednesday. Since then he has made 205 appearances in total, scoring 25 goals.

Last Five Meetings

30.11.1999 - Bolton Wanderers 1 v 0 Sheffield Wednesday (Robbie Elliott)

26.12.2000 - Bolton Wanderers 2 v 0 Sheffield Wednesday (Dean Holdsworth, Colin Hendry)

20.01.2001 - Sheffield Wednesday 0 v 3 Bolton Wanderers (Ricardo Gardner, Michael Ricketts, Ian Marshall)

22.09.2012 - Sheffield Wednesday 1 v 2 Bolton Wanderers (Marcos Alonso, Mark Davies)

26.12.2001 - Bolton Wanderers 0 v 1 Sheffield Wednesday

Prediction

Heart - this is fucking MUST WIN affair. Must win. No messing about. Wednesday are struggling at the moment and we MUST capitalise on this and take all three points. Nothing else with do. We should win, and I'm going for a 2-0.

Head - this will be a hard and tense game. It remains must win. I'm sticking with 2-0.