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Fright Night at Deepdale

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Eddie looks at Wanderers away record, and explains why it's vital Bolton banish those away day demons at Deepdale.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark. It's getting uglier and bigger every week, and it's more than likely giving Neil Lennon sleepless nights. No, it's not Freddy Krueger waiting for Lennon to fall asleep, it's Bolton Wanderers' away record.

The Whites have now gone 8 games without a win away from home (including last season). In recent years, Wanderers haven't fared well at all away from home.

Season

Away Position

Won

Drawn

Lost

Goals For

Goals Against

Points

10/11

20th

2

5

12

18

32

11

11/12

12th

6

2

11

23

38

20

12/13

20th

4

8

11

32

41

20

13/14

9th

8

6

9

30

37

30

14/15

23rd

4

4

15

19

40

16

15/16 (so far)

24th

0

1

5

4

14

1

Surprisingly, in the season where Bolton lost 7-1 away to Reading FC, Bolton had their best away form since relegation from the Premier League. Winning a third of our away games, the Wanderers beat all the Yorkshire teams, and now Premier League teams Watford FC and AFC Bournemouth. However, despite the impressive away record, Bolton were let down by results at the Reebok, finishing a lowly 14th overall.

During the glory days under Sam Allardyce, Bolton were also rather impressive away from home. In the 04/05 and 06/07 seasons, when Bolton qualified for the Uefa Cup, Bolton had the 4th best away record in the Premier League, bettered only by Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. In the season when Bolton last played Preston North End, the 00/01 season, Bolton had the 2nd best away record, winning 14 out of 23 games, scoring 36 goals and only conceding 17, whilst collecting 12 clean sheets in the process.

This season, Bolton find their selves as the worst away team, for obvious reasons. Last year, they were only spared that embarrassment by Blackpool FC. A far cry from 2001.

It's now vital that Bolton get a win on Saturday at Deepdale.

Firstly, to stop people saying 'Lennon out'. Yes, some of Lennon's tactics have been questionable, as discussed in Dan's article 'When is it okay to criticise Neil Lennon?'. However, with extreme financial difficulties and the 'injury curse' that has plagued the Bolton squad for ages, Lennon is doing the best he can. I don't believe for a second that any other manager could do a better job.

Secondly, the Preston game is a winnable one. The Championship is a close knit league, and on any given day, any team can win. However, it's important for Bolton to start beating their 'relegation rivals'. If the Whites have any chance of staying up, the most important points will be the ones against the teams around them.

Preston, are also the lowest scorers in the Championship this season, joint with Bolton (unsurprisingly). Ten goals scored, with only four of those coming at Deepdale. Preston also boast the second worst home record in the league, failing to win at home in six attempts. They do however have a decent defence, and have kept six clean sheets in the league this season.

Something that is vital if Bolton stand a chance is to play a holding midfielder. Playing Josh Vela or Jay Spearing in the midfield to break up opposition attacks and to keep possession is key. It worked against Burnley, where Spearing was probably the best player for the Whites before going off injured. After that, Bolton's midfield couldn't keep hold of the ball, and the inevitable loss came.

If there was ever a chance for Bolton to get that first away win and to get some points on the board, this is it. Preston struggle to score and haven't won yet at home. Bolton can create chances, they just need to start scoring them.

This Saturday, parents will be out taking their children trick-or-treating, while 3000 Wanderers fans will head to Deepdale, hoping for a treat in the shape of 3 points.