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Bolton Wanderers U21s: Season preview

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U21 correspondent Tom Molloy brings you a bumper preview of their season and the first match of the season against Bristol City tonight, including what it means for the Burton Albion game tomorrow.

Summer recruit Jordan Lussey may captain the side tonight.
Summer recruit Jordan Lussey may captain the side tonight.
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Iain Brunskill's men start their first season in the rubbish-sounding U21 Professional Development League Two, Northern Division tonight at home to Bristol City (who strangely enough are actually in the Southern Division, mental I know).

I think I should clear up the format of the League for anybody who is left confused as to why we're playing Bristol City; The League is split in two, with 11 teams in the Northern Division and 10 teams in the Southern one. Each team from the Northern Division plays each other twice, whilst also playing every team from the Southern Division once. At the end of the season, the top two teams from each division enter a play-off of sorts to determine the overall champion. It must be noted, however, that nobody can get promoted or relegated so it's more for pride than anything else.

Team News

Now that's out of the way, on to tonight's game. The team selection tonight should give a big indication to who will be involved for the first-team tomorrow, against Burton Albion, in the Capital One cup. I think if Medo and Andy Kellett are involved tonight then that would unfortunately be one more nail in both of their BWFC coffins.

Of people with squad numbers, I think that Fitzsimons will start tonight, as I don't think Lennon sees him as a first-team starter. Likewise with Niall Maher. I think one of Quade Taylor and Alex Finney will definitely play as well, with the other perhaps called up to the first team with injuries to Derik, David Wheater and Tim Ream. The one who stays behind, will probably be partnered tonight by Hayden White, despite being a right-back by trade. Rob Holding may also make the step-up tomorrow after being on the bench at the weekend and will probably not play today. I'd also expect to see summer recruit from Manchester City, Yvan Wassi play after his return from injury.

Onto midfield and I think Jordan Lussey will play in the centre with ex-Spurs man Channing Campbell-Young. Oscar Threlked may also be involved in midfield (he plays there more often than in defence for the U21's) as he feels his way back from a knee injury. Spanish playmaker Jon Ceberio, another summer recruit from Antiguoko KE, should complete a midfield diamond.

Up front will be interesting as I can see Kaiyne Woolery being involved against Burton Albion in some capacity. I'd also like to see Jamie Thomas given a try after a great pre-season but it might be too soon to throw him in just yet. One player we probably won't see is Tom Eaves (yes, he is really still a Bolton player!) as he is injured and his inclusion in the team would probably block other, younger players progress at this stage.

Of the Under 18's, I'd expect to see defender Callum Spooner, midfielder Alex Perry and strikers Chris Cvetko and Will Abbotts make the step-up after being left out of the U18 defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend.

It'll also be interesting to see if Summer triallists such as George Newell and Solomon will be included.

Form

Bolton Wanderers XI (as they were known in pre-season) had a much more comprehensive schedule than Bristol City, playing a massive ten games (!) to Bristol City's three. Wanderers only lost one of these games - to Tamworth - and that should fill them with confidence ahead of tonight's game.

Tickets

The game kicks off tonight at 7pm at the County Ground in Leyland. It's free to get in with a season ticket so if you have a free evening tonight then try and get down, the Under 21's play some lovely stuff at time and as LOVS' U21 correspondent so to speak, I'll be bringing you match reports of every Under 21 game this season, including player ratings.