It feel like it has been ages since we last wrote a match preview. This means one thing: football is (almost) back!
Bolton Wanderers take another step towards the 2013/14 Championship season with their first match of the pre-season on Tuesday. The Trotters travel to newly promoted Rotherham United's New York Stadium for the first of four quick-fire pre-season ties with the new season quickly approaching. Wanderers fans will have a new ground to check off of their lists as well as to get their eyes on Bolton's new signings.
The Millers, led by Steve Evans, were promoted to League One at the end of last season, after finishing second in League Two. Rotherham have been very busy this pre-season already, with the upcoming Bolton match being their fifth of the summer. So far, Evans' men are undefeated, beating Ayr United, Livingston, and Parkgate away, while drawing 0-0 with Greenock Morton (Joe McKee's new team). The Bolton tie will be their first at home with clashes against Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough still ahead of them.
Dougie Freedman's men have just returned from a grueling, week-long training camp in the south of Spain and will play Shrewsbury Town, Carlisle United, and Real Betis after the Rotherham match.
Tuesday's match should offer a chance for Dougie to try out new boys Marc Tierney and Alex Baptiste on either flank of the defense as well as give some of the promising youngsters an opportunity. Zach Clough, Chris Lester, and a number of the other up-and-comers trained with the first team in Marbella, having been talked up by Dougie on multiple occasions. New signing Rob Hall should play a part on the wings, especially with Chung-Yong Lee having been rested during the Spain trip following his own international matches earlier in the summer.
Fans will hope that the team fairs better than they did last year, when they failed to win six of eight pre-season games, drawing at Ayr United in their first outing before losing 2-0 at Hamilton Academical.