Let me start out by clarifying something. Dougie Freedman screwed up by not playing Josh Vela. I was on this site almost weekly when Vela was fit demanding that he not only play, but start. Alas, he never did. And as he turns into a top shelf player right before our eyes Dougie's refusal to play him becomes even more perplexing. However, Zach Clough was entirely different kettle of fish. Vela had already performed at the senior level and was a bit older than Clough. Vela is also a decent-sized lad, while Clough is very slight. Vela also has a maturity to his game that Clough still lacks at this point. So, to summarize, I have to disagree with my esteemed colleague Chris Manning. Should Clough have been given a chance late last season? Probably. Should Clough have played early this season when we had no creative threat on the pitch? Yes, of course. But the idea that Clough has been ready to do this for two years is a bridge too far for me.
On to the team for today's match with Nottingham Forest! Bolton Wanderers have been slightly better away from the Reebok under Neil Lennon than they were under Freedman, but they still haven't been good on their travels. I think Lennon will go a bit more defensive than he has been recently, given the horror show he has seen on that side of the pitch over the past month. Here is my selection:
Josh Vela Matt Mills Tim Ream Dean Moxey
Zach Clough Neil Danns Barry Bannan Simeon Slavchec Liam Feeney
Adam Le Fondre
Some might ask "Where is Saidy Janko?" Lennon has been very careful with the youngsters, never giving them more than they can handle. Janko is still a very inexperienced player, and I think the manager will treat him accordingly. I also expect Slavchec to make his full debut after being on the bench against Watford FC.
It should be another very open, end-to-end match, exciting for the neutral fan but excruciating for us. I predict a 3-3 draw. What is your prediction?