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Bury v Bolton Wanderers: Is This Really A Big Game For Us?

Chris ponders the big question

Barnsley v Southampton - Capital One Cup Second Round Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

As of about 11am this morning, Bolton Wanderers sold out their entire allocation of 3,200 tickets for Monday's away game with Bury.

It will be our first meeting since 1999, but the news that the home side have shifted just 3,700 tickets has me thinking - is this really a big game for Bolton? I would have expected Bury to have sold somewhere closer to 5-6,000, bearing in mind their reported 11,840 capacity Gigg Lane ground.

The fact that we have sold out our capacity speaks more to the point that a) our away fans are doing us proud this season, and b) it's only down the road.

Bury fans' lack of willingness to get rid of their home tickets is no great surprise. As a perennial lower league-r, averages of 2,500-4,000 have been the norm. The arrival in town of a big club like Bolton has clearly failed to convince the local Manchester United and Manchester City supporting population to get off their bottoms and head to the game.

For Bolton though, I think this game has lost some of its appeal. Our recent downfall has been marked, but that these two sides have generally avoided one another for the best part of 17 years will have contributed too.

When the fixtures came out, there can be little doubt that fans of a certain age would have immediately looked at the Bury away game and marked it out as one not to miss. Since then, we have existed at the top end of the league, whilst they have dropped off and are on a five game losing streak.

I give some blame to Sky, for changing this from a Saturday to a Monday night. Those of us who work long hours could go on to find it hard to physically get to Bury on a weeknight.

The basic fact is that for many our rivalry with Bury has been watered down. We took more to Rochdale. We'll probably take more to Bradford City.

It's a game between a promotion-chasing Bolton and a Bury side striving to avoid the drop.

It's a big game to me, but in the grand scheme of our season, it's just another night.

One that we really should win. I am convinced we will.