Safe to say this has been a difficult start to life back in The Championship. Ten games in and Bolton Wanderers are still yet to win a game, have picked up just two points, and are in the midst of a club record seven games without scoring in all competitions.
Things could be about to get a whole lot worse this afternoon, as Wanderers make the trip to Villa Park to face Aston Villa - who are undefeated in seven league games, have conceded just once in their last five, and put four past Burton Albion on Tuesday night.
The good news for the optimists of you out there is that our recent form against Villa is decent, with three wins and a draw in the last five meetings - although we haven’t faced them since April 2012. However, looking back beyond that we suffered a dismal run of just one victory in 15 attempts over Villa between 2004 and 2010.
Phil Parkinson brings Sammy Ameobi in for his first start of the season, while Jem Karacan returns from suspension to partner Karl Henry and Darren Pratley in a “workmanlike” midfield.
Villa look to be lining up in an attacking 4-4-2, which is worrying - especially with Jonathan Kodjia leading the line and Robert Snodgrass and Albert Adomah in wide positions. An interesting battle will be former England captain John Terry up against Big Gary Madine. They also have Tottenham loanee Josh Onomah and £12 million striker Scott Hogan only able to make the bench.
Here are today’s starting line-ups. You can follow all the action (and Aston Villa goals) in the Comments section below, and keep me company by commenting on the thread with your thoughts on all things Wanderers.
Aston Villa (4-4-2): Sam Johnstone; Ahmed Elmohamady, John Terry, James Chester, Neil Taylor; Robert Snodgrass, Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane, Albert Adomah; Jonathan Kodjia, Keinan Davis
Substitutes: Jed Steer, Chris Samba, Scott Hogan, Josh Onomah, Birkir Bjarnason, Alan Hutton, Callum O’Hare
Bolton Wanderers (4-3-2-1): Mark Howard; Mark Little, David Wheater, Mark Beevers, Andrew Taylor; Jem Karacan, Karl Henry, Darren Pratley; Adam Armstrong, Sammy Ameobi; Gary Madine
Substitutes: Adam Le Fondre, Craig Noone, Jeff King, Josh Cullen, Antonee Robinson, Reece Burke, Jake Turner