Bolton Wanderers scheduled a Pre-season Friendly at Macclesfield Town's home ground a scant 48 hours after the final match of their Scandinavian tour. Some may have thought this unwise, but I think Dougie Freedman was viewing it as a chance to test some of his youngsters all along. Most of the older players who participated did not see a lot of time on the pitch in Sweden on Wednesday.
Macclesfield scored in the first half, and Bolton equalized ten minutes from time through Zach Clough. That said, in pre-season friendlies we are more concerned with who played an dhow they played than we are with the result.
Ross Fitzsimons started in goal for Wanderers. He has seen a fair amount of playing time this month, but I don't really expect that to continue. Andy Lonergan needs to get ready for the season, Adam Bogdan will be back from injury soon, and all indications are that the club wants to keep Arran Lee-Barrett on the books as well. All that said, Fitzsimons seems competent enough.
The back four featured Joe Riley at right back, Dorian Dervite and Cian Bolger in the middle, and Oscar Threlkeld on the left. There are a few things that interest me about this group. Most notably, new signing Dervite has seen very little time partnered with Tim Ream or Matt Mills. It seems very likely at this point that Mills and Ream will be the first choice pairing. Also, Joe Riley is seeing a lot of playing time. He is fit for the first time in a long while, and we are all familiar with his talent level. Kevin McNaughton may have a must looser grip on the right back's shirt than we would shave thought when he signed last week. And finally, Threlkeld at left back. We know Marc Tierney is going to be out for a couple more months, but most just assumed that Dean Moxey would come in and win the left back job unopposed. Maybe he still will, but Threlkeld has played left back in every pre-season match so far. Previous to this summer, he was known as more of a utility player, someone who was comfortable all across the back line.
The midfield had Chris Lester and Georg Illiev on the wings. Iliev has spent a lot of time with the first team this month. Medo Kamara and Darren Pratley lent some senior experience to this team, appearing in central midfield alongside Josh Vela. Craig Davies started at striker, continuing the rotation between he and Jermaine Beckford, who made the trip but did not get off the subs bench.
Goalscorer Clough was a second half substitution, along with Conor Wilkinson, and it was those two that combined for the late goal.
Bolton's next preseason friendly is scheduled for Tuesday, July 22nd against Rochdale.