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Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Middlesbrough

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The biggest financial mismatch since the last one

Nottingham Forest v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Tomorrow afternoon Bolton Wanderers welcome Middlesbrough to the Reebok. To say that it’s a financial mismatch would be horrendously underselling the difference between the two teams.

Wanderers, without a pot to piss in, face Boro, who spent £40m on new players this summer - and Christ knows what their wage bill is. Normally you would think that this means an away victory is inevitable, but that’s not what football is all about. When the two teams line up against each other at 3pm on Saturday it will be a fair fight and the best team will win.

Logic might dictate you don’t include Wanderers in your coupon this weekend, but you’d be wrong. We’re going to win.

Historically, we have the upper hand, with 51 wins to their 43 (31 draws - presumably all 0-0), so we have that on our side too. That said, we haven’t beaten them since 2013, so probably shouldn’t dwell on that.

New signing Craig Noone could slot straight into the team, with ex-Boro men David Wheater and Sammy Ameobi expected back from injury.

Injuries to Jem Karacan, Will Buckley and Josh Vela will see them miss the game, whilst on-loan West Ham midfielder Josh Cullen had a long trip to Georgia in the week playing for Ireland in the World Cup Qualifiers.

As for our opponents, gangly frontman Rudy Gestede is out following an operation on his thigh, as is £15m ex-Toulouse forward Martin Braithwaite who is recovering from an injury. New signings Ryan Shotton and Marvin Johnson - the latter a £2.5m signing from Oxford United - should play some part.