Bolton Wanderers travel to Griffin Park this week to take on Brentford FC. Neil Lennon will have to spend the usual amount of time examining the injury list, but this week our opponents are in the same boat. Brentford have had a very good season, and they currently sit 7th in the table, three points behind Ipswich Town for the final playoff spot with three games to play.
A big reason or Brentford's success this season has been the play of two loan players from Premier League clubs. Alex Pritchard, a midfielder from Tottenham Hotspur, missed Wednesday's match with a calf problem and is still a doubt for this weekend. A striker from Everton, Chris Long, has a knee problem and also did not play at Hillsborough. With these two players out, Brentford lost 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday, who were 16 points below them in the table heading into the match. If both are unavailable on Saturday, Bolton might, and I repeat, might have a chance at getting a point.
Mark Davies made his return from a knee injury (another knee injury) against Charlton Athletic on Tuesday night, and could play from the start on Saturday. Senior strikers Emile Heskey and Eidur Gudjohnsen were also given light duty on Tuesday, presumably with an eye on starting them today. Here is who I think should play:
Paddy McCarthy Dorian Dervite Tim Ream
Saidy Janko Barry Bannan Josh Vela Neil Danns Dean Moxey
Adam Le Fondre Emile Heskey
As I have written before, I think Lennon is planning on instituting the 3-5-2 almost exclusively next season, and that he will use the final few matches to test certain players in certain positions. Given how much Brentford have to play for, contrasted with how little Bolton have to play for, there is no reason not to experiment. We're not going to win anything this season, so we might as well learn something. Unfortunately, I think we will be learning it in a 2-1 defeat.