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Mears & Riley to miss remainder of season, right back depth suffers

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Sam Ricketts and (to a much lesser extent) Danny Butterfield have deputized Bolton Wanderers' right back role for the last few months, a role that Tyrone Mears was more-or-less first choice for. Ricketts has started almost every match for Bolton since mid-February but it never felt like he won the starting role. Instead, it seemed to be more of a stopgap until Tyrone Mears came back from illness. The position will likely belong to Ricketts for the rest of the season following Dougie Freedman's pre-Bristol City press conference.

Tyrone Mears has been out of action for almost two months. The last match he played in was 19 February's 1-1 draw away to Derby County. In the nine matches since, he had been left out of the match day 18 altogether. The decision to leave him out was not at all performance-based as Mears has been Bolton's best right back this season. No, Tyrone Mears has been left out of the team with what the Trotters are calling a "blood infection" and the Bolton News speculating is a glandular fever.

Speaking on Thursday, Dougie Freedman announced that the illness would most likely keep Mears out for the rest of the season. Freedman also announced that young Joe Riley would also likely miss the rest of the season.

Riley, who showed promise at the tail end of last season, had made the bench on a number of occasions for Bolton during the Championship campaign but would not make a single league appearance for the men in white. His first team chances were limited to the Capital One Cup loss at Crawley Town and the Sunderland FA Cup match at home. It was in that latter match that Riley would be forced to leave early (just 35 minutes in) with what would eventually be diagnosed as a broken foot. Riley attempted to make his return from injury in a U21 match two weeks ago but that also did not last as he was forced off with injury again.