Bolton Wanderers travel down to the south coast to take on non-league Eastleigh in the FA cup this weekend. You’d like to think that this will be a simple task for Bolton, but it is clear this will not be the case.
This after all is a Bolton side that have not won a game away from home since beating Cardiff City on 06/04/2015. A Bolton side rooted to the bottom of the Championship table with only two wins to their name all season. A team who are whipping boys even for Rotherham United who let’s face it are also a terrible football team.
Eastleigh on the other hand sit in a very respectable fourth place in the National League, or the Conference if like me you have no idea what the National League is. They have built a team which boasts players who were on the books of Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth last season, giving a very Football league feel to their playing staff.
They are bankrolled by a wealthy individual who has already put over £3 million into the club with the ambition of growing it into a Football League or even Premier League club. They have been described as being a Football League club in all but name, and it is hard to argue with that assertion. Eastleigh appear to be a club on the rise whereas Bolton’s current trajectory is in a somewhat different direction.
What’s more it would be no surprise if Neil Lennon was told not to play any player who could attract a fee at some point in the transfer window, or just attract the interest to get them off the wage bill. This would likely mean no Zach Clough, Josh Vela or David Wheater and so on.
This could in a way be a good thing. It offers an opportunity to give some other young players a run out. But it could also mean the likes of Stephen Dobbie starting and that would not be such a good thing. One way or another it means Bolton will likely have to field a weakened team against a side going into this game with the confidence to back up their Football league quality.
I’m not bothered about being the underdogs for this game, or in fact for all matches we play at the moment. It takes away some of the pain of losing, not all but some. When we inevitably embarrass ourselves at the weekend some may laugh, others may despair but I will just be sat there without a care in the world.