Major League Soccer side Toronto FC have had a few local connections to Bolton and the Trotters for the last few seasons. From Bolton-born former manager Paul Mariner to Worsley-born current defender (and former Manchester United, Bury, and Burnley, among others) Richard Eckersley to former Bolton Wanderers defender Paul Robinson (who had a trial with Toronto) and finally to Kevin Davies, who was inches away from signing with Toronto, the two teams and areas are intertwined.
The Reds, currently managed by former DC United, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Ranger, and New Zealand man, Ryan Nelsen, are not a very good team. They joined Major League Soccer in the 2007 season and have not made the playoffs on a single one of those occasions, never finishing the regular season above 11th place.
After finishing the 2012 season dead last, the team made the move to hire Nelsen due to his playing pedigree and familiarity with MLS. Nelsen has not yet stopped the slide with Toronto second-bottom in both the Eastern Conference and Supporters' Shield standings level on points with Chivas USA but behind on goals scored.
With no chance of a post-season for this campaign, Nelsen's team is already thinking about the future. Having played in the Premier League for so long, Nelsen has built up a reputation in England and, with it, contacts in charge of many clubs. He will be using those contacts to better his squad through experience.
Speaking to MLS's official website, the redundantly-named mlssoccer.com, the manager discussed the prospect of offseason loans:
"That is what will be happening. It will be for the development of the players. These guys are learning and developing quickly. If we can quicken up that process, then of course we want to do that."
"It will be somewhere that will give them the right balance and where they will learn in the right environments. I don't want to send Jonathan Osorio into Bolton. The clubs will match the style of football that they play, so they can be comfortable, complement the team, learn and just experience what it is like [at another club]."
In eight seasons with Blackburn, Tottenham, and QPR, Nelsen faced off against Bolton on 11 different occasions with ten of those coming in previous iterations of this weekend's derby match. He will know Bolton better than most opposition players but it is unclear whether his statement comes as a result of his history with the Trotters or a combination of that and not knowing Dougie Freedman.