Ahead of this weekend's crucial match against Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers certainly had a number of injury concerns. Marc Tierney, Chris Eagles, David Ngog, Darren Pratley, Tim Ream, and David Wheater were all names on the list of hurt players but with no definite length of absence listed for any of them. We do not yet know the statuses of Ream, Wheater, Tierney, and Pratley but in his pre-match press conference, Dougie Freedman did cross the two remaining names off.
Speaking ahead of the derby clash, Freedman said:
"When two or three of your key players are missing it's difficult. Now we have Chris Eagles and David Ngog back we're in a good place."
The statement indicates a return for the two attacking men with the former player being one that Bolton have particularly missed. In Chris Eagles, Bolton Wanderers have an attacking spark and offensive outlet capable of scoring goals that they seem to completely lack in his absence. In four league games thus far this season, Bolton have managed just two goals and two points.
Chris Eagles had only played in one of those four games, leaving the opening match against Burnley in the second half after suffering an ankle injury. The knock put the player into a boot for a few weeks and even though he returned to training ahead of last weekend's match against Queens Park Rangers, it was too soon to risk him for Dougie.
The last time that Bolton and Blackburn met, it was Chris Eagles' dramatic winner at the death that settled the score. The winger ran the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Rovers fans that booed his entrance. Prior to that point, Eagles was in the middle of a serious slump with the Bolton supporters going so far as booing him at their home ground. For the rest of the season, Eagles showed his worth to the team and then some.
In the press conference, Freedman hinted at the possibility of Tyrone Mears and Matt Mills starting the match. The pair played in the penalty loss to Tranmere on Tuesday with both performing as well on defense as could be expected. Mills looks like the obvious option to start in place of the injured David Wheater but with Marc Tierney's fitness a question, Tyrone Mears may be handed the nod as well. At Prenton Park, Mears started the match at right back with Alex Baptiste switching flanks to the left. While the former was comfortable in his usual spot, the latter looked shaky at best in unfamiliar territory.