Chung-Yong Lee is gone. The Asian Cup has begun and he is playing for South Korea. We've known it was coming for a while now. We have accepted it. We have even discussed replacements, short-term and long-term. We are ready for it. It's unfortunate, but it doesn't hurt. Matt Mills getting injured, that hurts.
News came out on Friday that Mills picked up an injury versus Huddersfield Town and may not be available for the FA Cup match against Wigan Athletic. Manager Neil Lennon gets a lot of the credit for the defensive resurgence at Bolton, and rightfully so, but a good deal of on the pitch responsibility for the recent run of clean sheets goes to the big man leading the back line. Mills and Dorian Derive have formed an excellent partnership in the center of the back four. Tim Ream has done yeoman's work at left back, although we all know he is not really a left back, and Josh Vela, against all odds, has done fine work at a completely unknown position. The back line has been more than the sum of its parts ever since Lennon arrived.
However, now Mills is likely to be out. The obvious solution is to bring in David Wheater. Our own Dan Murphy would like to see Oscar Threlkeld given a shot. I'm OK with either choice, because I think the bigger issue is at right back. Josh Vela has done a job the last few weeks, but we all know he is not a right back. In fact, he has really been riding his luck the last two matches. There is good news on that front though. Kevin McNaughton comes back into the squad this week. I think the Cardiff City man should go right into the starting XI. Why? Because I think Vela should take over Chungy's spot in the center of midfield. This would be my starting XI:
Kevin McNaughton David Wheater Oscar Threlkeld Dean Moxey
Zach Clough Jay Spearing Josh Vela Medo Kamara Rob Hall
I don't know if Lennon will ring in the changes for a cup match. I would like to see the kids given a shot. I don't know if it matters. The former Celtic manager has Bolton Wanderers extremely well-organized. Wigan, on the other hand, are a mess right now. I am predicting a 3-0 home win.