Bolton Wanderers fans often bemoan the team's apparently constant state of injury crisis. There have been very few times in recent memory when the club's best players were all fit, healthy, and available for selection in league matches. We covered the selection dilemma that Dougie Freedman will have in midfield this weekend but that's far from the only area of the squad where form and fitness will dictate changes.
Starting at the back, Bolton Wanderers can now choose from four fit central defenders with a fifth very close to making a full return. Craig Dawson and Zat Knight did well in last week's win against Burnley with the former really impressing against the clarets. Craig Dawson proved a solid acquisition in defense but really showed himself as a menace on attack, winning a number of headers from set pieces and coming close on five separate occasions. David Wheater has made a pair of reserve appearances including a full 90 minute run-out against Bury and Dougie Freedman has confirmed that he will feature this weekend. Tim Ream, who has been fully fit all season but has had mixed performances is also on the bench. Finally, Matt Mills has made a reserve appearance but is still a little way's off of a first team return.
In the midfield, the options for Bolton Wanderers are looking increasingly tasty. Jay Spearing, Darren Pratley, and Chris Eagles started in the center of the park against Burnley with Chung-Yong Lee and Steve De Ridder out wide. Both Chris Eagles and Steve De Ridder failed to make an impact in Burnley's final third while Chung-Yong Lee was largely poor until sending in the cross for Craig Davies' equalizing header.
With the Nottingham Forest match fast approaching, Dougie Freedman has, as Dennis put it in his piece, an embarrassment of riches in the center of midfield. Mark Davies, Stu Holden, and Medo Kamara have all seen extended time in recent reserve outings and the first two names there will feature against Forest. Add that to the fully fit midfielders in Jay Spearing, Josh Vela, & Darren Pratley, leaving Bolton with option upon options.
Finally, up front. On recent form alone, there are arguments to be made for Marvin Sordell, Craig Davies, and David Ngog. Craig Davies, of course, scored the equalizer with an excellent diving header. David Ngog's half-volley on the turn was a phenomenal way to win the match. Marvin Sordell failed to score against Burnley but his total of four goals against Sunderland, Everton, and Watford speaks for itself. Kevin Davies had a small cameo at the end of the Burnley match and was instrumental in setting up David Ngog's winner.
Of course, Dougie's selection will be influenced by the formation that he choose to throw out against Nottingham Forest. If there's only one forward up front, the dilemma becomes one of going for quick or strong. Two forwards up front will be mean that the best-working partnership will decide the starters, just as it did with Craig Davies and David Ngog up front, with Kevin Davies supporting.
Who do you think will start the match for Bolton Wanderers? Let us know in the comments.