Bolton Wanderers are unbeaten in their last six matches, and unscored upon in their last three. Manager Neil Lennon seems to have solved the club's long standing defensive problems in relatively short order. For the first time in a long while, Bolton supporters are looking up the table instead of down.
So what is that reading like? Well, Wanderers have 23 points from 21 matches, which is good for 18th in the table. Friday night's ooponents, Millwall FC, also have 23 points from 21 matches. However, a slightly inferior goal difference (-8 compared to -6) has the boys from the south in 20th position at the moment. Given the current makeup of the Sky Bet Championship, if one of these sides takes three points on Friday, they will find themselves in a fairly comfortable position heading into the bust holiday fixture period.
On the other hand, if one of these sides gets nothing from this match, they will start to feel the footsteps from behind quite loudly. A bad run over Christmas and New Years can really leave a club snookered by the time FA Cup weekend is over.
Millwall have scored 23 goals and allowed 31, while Bolton have scored 22 and allowed 28. Despite the recent defensive success of the away side, it is unlikely we will see a fourth straight clean sheet. As for attack, there are huge questions surrounding the forward line, or lack thereof.
Craig Davies is out until at least Boxing day with a hamstring injury. Joe Mason is likely to return to Cardiff City becaus ef his own hamstring problem. And Max Clayton, sadly, is out for the rest of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. That means young and inexperienced Conor Wilkinson is likely to start up top for the Whites. Eidur Gudjohnsen is the only other option, and he played more of a central midfield role when he came on last match. That is consistent with what he has done the last couple of seasons.
This is going to be a hard match for the Mighty Wanderers. If you offered Neil Lennon a point right now, I don't think he woudl take it, but most supporters would.