It’s likely to be cold and wet and windy tonight as Bolton Wanderers welcome Reading to the Reebok Stadium in a lower mid-table clash.
Wanderers arrive unbeaten in six, exceeding the expectations of everyone over 18. Our visitors, who lost 0-2 at home to Wolves at the weekend, have so far failed to follow up on last season’s successes which saw manager Jaap Stam - once of Manchester United, Lazio and AC Milan - drive the team to the Play Off Final where they lost on penalties to Huddersfield Town. This setback will have come as a blow, given they had previously earned back-to-back wins over Nottingham Forest and Derby County prior to hosting Wolves.
That said, things are not at all rosy in the garden for Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson. Beset by injury and suspensions, his defence is likely to contain one or more of forgotten men Reece Burke, gulp Dorian Dervite, gulp, Stephen Darby, double gulp and Derik Osede, yay.
In midfield, the lesser spotted Jem Karacan may return, and I had a laugh the other day when I saw someone comment that Adam Le Fondre could play from the start. You’ve got to love Bolton fans on the internet. Hilarious.
Friend of the po-po Gary Madine will lead the line, as he always does. Will he score? That doesn’t happen quite as often, but in Reading he may well find a defence more inclined to give him a few opportunities. Whether he will take them or not is another matter, but so long as he runs a bit eh what does that matter?
I’m a bit bothered by Modou Barrow and Sone Aluko in the Reading attack. Barrow of course is well known to us, being the subject of Dougie Freedman’s affections during his last pre-season with Bolton. Aluko has always been a tricky bastard too.
The defeat suffered by Bolton at the back end of our last Champo season still rings fresh in the memory, but let’s hope that Parky’s revitalised Whites can do the business tonight. That said, we haven’t beaten them in the last six meetings, so something has to give, right?
Three points should see us climb out of the drop zone which would represent a phenomenal improvement on our situation which seemed so dire just a few weeks ago.
Just give the ball to Sammy, and he’ll do the rest.
Wrap up warm, kids. It’ll be a dull 0-0 on a late late school night.