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Match Preview: Charlton Athletic v. Bolton Wanderers

Laurence Griffiths

The international break is over and Bolton Wanderers Football Club will be back in action. The Trotters travel to the Valley to take on Charlton Athletic in a match that could really define the close of this season in one way or another. The break had its share of international success and controversy on the home front but hopefully Bolton will be able to put all of that behind them as they look to regain ground after a missed step against Ipswich Town.

The break could serve Bolton in one of two ways: it was a necessary chance to reset and kick on, picking up results as the season winds down or it derailed Bolton's playoff hopes even further.

The vast majority of the Bolton squad will not have played a competitive match in two weeks, so they should be well rested. Dougie Freedman has no fresh injury concerns from the international break as the only player carrying a knock that went away, Adam Bogdan, was on the bench for both of Hungary's matches. Chung-Yong Lee's long flight from Korea forced a later return to the ground than his teammates but there is nothing to suggest that he will not be good to go come Saturday.

Bolton's opponents this weekend, Charlton Athletic, sit in 15th place on 47 points. They are seven spots and seven points behind the Trotters, currently in 8th on 54. Bolton Wanderers are still five points out of playoff contention, behind both Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion who are level on 59 points.

The Addicks are in the middle of a very inconsistent run of form, having lost three of their last six, winning two in that stretch. Their home form is actually much worse than their away form at the moment, as they have lost their last three games at the Valley and four of their last five. Their last match was a 0-2 loss at home to local rivals Millwall.

The last time the two teams met, Johnnie Jackson was Charlton's top scorer in the league with four goals. He still tops that table but is level with 31-year-old Yann Kermorgant, now with eight goals. Danny Haynes is catching up, with seven goals to his name this season.

As for Bolton Wanderers, they will really have to start adjusting to life without Kevin Davies. Marvin Sordell, who scored for England U21s against Austria, could very well receive his first start since the Peterborough win in late February. Craig Davies and David Ngog are in contention as well. Both of those players started the Ipswich Town match.

A win and results going Bolton's way could see Wanderers just two points away from a playoff spot. However, Middlesbrough and Leeds United both have the opportunity to leapfrog Bolton in the event of a loss.