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Match Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Doncaster Rovers

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Whites face Doncaster this weekend: what can we expect?

Federico Macheda - on loan from Man Utd
Federico Macheda - on loan from Man Utd
Michael Regan

The good thing about games at this time of the season is that they come thick and fast. If you're an in-form side then you are able to string a sequence of wins together and create a solid base from which to build upon in the second half of the season.

As we all know, Bolton Wanderers do not like stringing a sequence of wins together - Saturday's game against Doncaster Rovers comes hot on the heels of two successive defeats, against Middlesbrough and Huddersfield Town, the latter just on Tuesday night.

Doncaster are a point and three league places better off than Wanderers at the time of writing. They were promoted from League One in the 2012/13 season as champions under the stewardship of former Wrexham manager Brian Flynn.

Current manager Paul Dickov took over from Flynn in May 2013, and is in his first season managing at Championship level.

The club began the season with a 1-3 home defeat to Blackpool, before defeating Blackburn Rovers 2-0 at home two weeks later. A hard-earned point away to Wigan Athletic - then managed by ex-Wanderers boss Owen Coyle - preceded a five game winless streak which finally ended with a 1-0 away win against Sheffield Wednesday in late September. In the midst of this streak the club was knocked out of the League Cup with a home defeat against Yorkshire rivals Leeds United.

October brought about three defeats and a solitary win, at home to high-flying Leicester City, whilst November yielded a respectable seven points from five games, including a win over QPR at the Keepmoat Stadium and another home win against Yeovil Town.

Their only game in December was a 1-1 away point earned against Birmingham City.

Doncaster's summer transfer business involved the arrival of no fewer than ten signings, including former Spurs defender Bongani Khumalo, ex-Chelsea goalkeeper Ross Turnbull, and in a PR stunt (notice I said 'stunt') the club offered a contract to local boy and international celebrity Louis Tomlinson, a member of One Direction - some sort of popular beat combo, I believe.

Also signed on loan was Manchester United striker Federico Macheda, who is currently the club's top scorer with three goals.

Wanderers' history with Doncaster is somewhat brief - we have only faced them on eight occasions to date. The first was a league tie in 1904 which saw Bolton come out 2-0 victors. The most recent game was a 4-0 FA Cup win for the side then managed by legendary boss Sam Allardyce in January 2007 with goals from Andranik Teymourian (x2), Kevin Davies and former Everton midfielder Idan Tal.

Last Five Meetings

24.08.1985 - Doncaster Rovers 1 v 1 Bolton Wanderers (Cross)

21.12.1985 - Bolton Wanderers 2 v 0 Doncaster Rovers (Cross x2)

27.12.1986 - Doncaster Rovers 3 v 0 Bolton Wanderers

04.05.1987 - Bolton Wanderers 0 v 1 Doncaster Rovers

06.01.2007 - Doncaster Rovers 0 v 4 Bolton Wanderers (Andranik Teymourian x2, Kevin Davies, Idan Tal)

Prediction

Heart - We should win. 5-0 - Jermaine Beckford x3, Matt Mills, Joe Mason

Head - We're going to make it hard work. 1-0 - Matt Mills

This is a challenging one for Bolton Wanderers. Doncaster have shown that they are capable of beating anyone in this league, and so should not be taken lightly. Dougie Freedman has already said that Joe Mason will make his first start for the club - presumably coming in for the disappointing Andre Moritz and offering support to Jermaine Beckford.

I would prefer Dougie to play Mason ALONGSIDE Beckford, and show a bit of attacking spunk, but let's be honest,  that ain't gonna happen.

COYWM.