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Who Should Start In Central Defence for Bolton Wanderers?

With a plethora of options facing Lenny, our Matt chips in with his two penn'orth

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

It’s very Bolton that the second scoring stops being an issue, conceding goals steps in to keep it frustrating. Wanderers have conceded 10 in the last 3 games leaving the praise previously given to our defence looking premature. In fact before the Huddersfield game we had only conceded more than 1 goal in 1 game.

So what happened? Constant chopping and changing hasn’t helped. Dervite got suspended followed by an injury, Derik got suspended which left Prince to play with returnee, David Wheater (his 3rd CB partner of the season). So how should we line up following the break?

Previous Combinations

Prince & Dorian Dervite (The French Connection)

Games: 6 Conceded: 9 Clean Sheets: 2.

Before the QPR result this wasn’t a bad combination at all. Heavy losses against Middlesbrough and QPR have accounted for 7 of their 9 conceded goals, this hides some good performances.

They both share the same first language which can only help with communication; this could definitely play a factor given the international nature of our back 4.

Prince & Derik Osede

Games: 3 Conceded: 5 Clean Sheets: 1.

I was really impressed with these two against Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday.

They kept Benik Afobe and Adam Le Fondre quiet all afternoon; Wolves needed a penalty to score. They are by far our most mobile combination and work well against pacey teams. When they faced Huddersfield playing the big Miller up front they struggled…quite a bit.

Prince & David Wheater

Games: 1 Conceded: 2 Clean Sheets: 0.

It would be harsh to judge on one performance but the overall feeling was not great, not bad. I was surprised to see these two split up in the last game although I don’t think the result would have been any different if they hadn’t been.

My first choice would be:


He has been a constant in the defence all season and looks like a top player. He is confident to not just hoof it up and has the pace to cover his/other player’s mistakes. He is not easily overpowered and can jump like a majestic salmon. He is our most balanced central defender and at the moment first name on the team sheet.

My second choice would be:

David Wheater

It’s a hard call between him and Dorian. Dervite was in great form before his injury but we’ve seen that form desert him in the past, as it appeared to against QPR.

Wheater offers great physicality and a leader at the back. He organises the back line in a way that Dervite or Derik wouldn’t do. He is also our one hope from scoring at a corner.


‘AND?!’ I hear you all cry. Yes, I am an advocate of the back 3. We have the best depth in the team at centre back. We should utilise it.

On that note, my third choice is:

Derik Osede

He looks so talented with the ball at his feet and is one of the best passers in the team. He offers so many more options at the back it would be foolish to leave him out. Despite his size he can mix it with taller players to an extent.

So why would I pick a back 3 when it has failed so miserably in the past?

We have the players to play it well now. A back line of Prince-Wheater-Derik is as strong as it is mobile.

It gives the option for one of our ball playing centre backs to go on driving runs in to midfield without being exposed; this allows us to fully utilise Derik or Prince.

Wheater is in there to deal with the big buggers, whilst Derik and Prince can easily mop up any through balls or knock downs.

I do feel most of our right and left backs could play the wing back role. Pisano is by trade a wing back and Casado has much experience there. Moxey could play it well enough and Vela would probably do better than Wilson there.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below.