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Match Preview: Leicester City v. Bolton Wanderers

Michael Steele

This is it, folks. We are well and truly in the season's final stretch and Bolton Wanderers face what could well and truly be their most important match (until hopefully the Playoff final). The Trotters have two away matches and two home matches left to play as there are just four games before the Championship table is final and the playoffs begin. Wanderers will take their show on the road to the King Power Stadium to take on Leicester City.

There are (realistically) five teams fighting for three playoff places with Bolton right in the thick of it. Sitting on 63 points, Wanderers occupy the sixth (and final) playoff place on goal difference alone at the moment. Nottingham Forest sit seventh, also with 63 points, while Tuesday's opponents are eight on 61. Above Bolton lie Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace on 65 and 66 points, respectively.

After 8 wins from their last 10 games, Bolton Wanderers are the Championship's form team. However, of their last six games, Bolton have only managed to win twice (which is a better ratio than the four away wins all season). Leicester's form isn't very good though. They have not won any of their last nine games, losing five and drawing four in that stretch. Their last home win came some five (home) matches ago in what was a 3-0 win against Blackburn. That said, Leicester City have conceded only 19 goals in 21 matches at home this season and carry a goal difference of +23 at the King Power Stadium. Bolton have scored 29 on the road but have conceded 37.

Leicester City had a heartbreak draw at the death last Friday as a silly decision from Dave Nugent saw Birmingham City awarded a penalty kick that was scored to seal a 2-2 scoreline. Where at one point, Leicester looked like favorites for automatic promotion, Nigel Pearson's men have fallen fast and hard. In better news for the Foxes, they have no fresh injury concerns.

As for Bolton Wanderers, despite Jay Spearing being forced to leave the Bristol City in the first half, the manager is confident he'll be fully fit for the Leicester City match. Despite the clean bill of health, Dougie Freedman could start Medo Kamara instead. That move wouldn't be considered as precautionary as Medo has proven himself to be a cut above this division on numerous occasions this season. Either way, it means that Bolton Wanderers have a capable midfield enforcer in their ranks no matter which way you cut it.

Questions persist around the Bolton side as to which players will be included in the matchday squad. Tom Eaves was recalled from his Shrewsbury Town loan while Josh Vela and Chris Lester were kept out of the U21s match against Norwich City.

There are also concerns about Darren Pratley due to how convoluted the FA and Football League's rules are when it comes to yellow card suspensions. The central midfielder picked up his tenth yellow card of the season on Saturday (eight in the league, one in the Capital One Cup, one in the FA Cup). Normally, that would be grounds for suspension but in the Premier League, the accumulation count had been reset. We can't say for sure whether that is the case for Darren Pratley or not. There have been no indications that he will be suspended but the aforementioned squad moves could indicate otherwise.

A Bolton win and other results going their way could see the Trotters up to fifth place (unless they win big and Crystal Palace lose by a large margin, in which case it's fourth place) while building a five point gap on Leicester City. A Foxes win would see them leapfrog Bolton by a point and, depending on the Nottingham Forest result, could push Leicester City back into the playoffs while knocking Bolton Wanderers out (for the time being).