Where: The Macron Stadium
When: Friday 31st July, 2015
Kick Off: 8:00PM
The Whites were originally set to face Serie A side Chievo Verona, as football returns to the Macron Stadium, for their last pre-season friendly before the Championship restarts once again on August 8th. Charlton Athletic, tonights opponents, were also supposed to play the Italian outfit, but due to logistical problems on the side of the Italians, neither match has taken place. This left both clubs scrambling, with the traditional home friendly against a European side before the season began no longer happening, they both turned to each other to take the place of the Flying Donkeys, thus resulting in tonight's fixture.
The long absent quartet of Zach Clough, Darren Pratley, Emile Heskey and Oscar Threlkeld, will all face late fitness tests to determine if they can play in the friendly, but with the start of the season little over a week away, it would be quite foolish to risk any further aggravation of their respective injuries by playing them now. I doubt we'll see any of the four make an appearance, if they do, it'll no doubt be from the bench. Young wingers Tom Walker and Max Clayton both remain on the sidelines, as they recover from their injuries. Centre back David Wheater, who has been out of action since February, was in the match day squad in the most recent friendly against Port Vale, and he could potential make his return to the team tonight. Although trialists Stephen Dobbie and, former Charlton man, Lawrie Wilson still remain unsigned, they are expected to play. Young players Quade Taylor, Rob Holding, Kaiyne Woolery and Alex Finney will also no doubt be hoping for some game time on the Macron pitch, and have been involved in first teams squads recently.
Addicks boss Guy Luzon is expected to name his strongest possible side tonight, in anticipation of Saturday's opener against QPR. Although star striker Igor Vetokele is ruled out through injury, there could be debuts for now signings: Naby Sarr, Cristian Ceballos and Zakarya Bergdich. Accompanying Vetokele on the sidelines Rhys Wiggins, Frank Moussa and Stephen Henderson, who are all yet to return from their injuries. In place of Vetokele may well be the giant 6ft7" striker, Simon Makienok. The Dane, who looks as if he climbed out of a Gulag, will be the perfect chance to see if new signing Derik Osede really can compete with the physical nature of the Championship - at it's most vivid extreme.
Bolton Wanderers: LLLWDW
Charlton Athletic: WLLWDL
So we're even going into the game!
Bolton Wanderers: 23/20, Draw: 11/5, Charlton Athletic: 2/1.
One To Watch: Johan Berg Gudmundsson
The Icelandic winger, no doubt friends with our dearly departed Eidur Gudjohnsen *sniffs*, is a fantastic player and one I'm a big fan of. With pace, power and skill in abundance, he'll no doubt prove to be a concern for the Wanderers backline.
It's the last pre-season game before the season begins, and a really un-gamourous one at that. I really doubt either side will strain themselves too much in fear of suffering an injury so close to the season. So I'll go for 1-1.