With just 12 games to go this season Bolton Wanderers’ home form is becoming increasingly vital. And today represents a massive opportunity to breathe further life into their once highly unlikely chances of avoiding relegation, as local rivals Preston North End come to town.
These two famous old clubs are certainly no strangers, having done battle 143 times before today, with Preston winning 53 and Bolton coming out on top 51 times. Bolton have failed to win the last three clashes between the sides, having won the previous four going back to that famous 1-0 win to secure promotion in May 1993. A note to anyone who expects goals, two of the previous three games have finished 0-0 - although both were at Preston.
Bolton’s upcoming fixtures are not pretty, with visits to Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United sandwiched by hosting promotion chasing Aston Villa, making today’s game even more important. And, with Karl Henry suspended, there’s a welcome return today for Josh Vela, who is joined back in the side by Tyler Walker as Phil Parkinson returns to the 3-5-2 formation he began the game at Norwich with last weekend.
Preston find themselves on the edges of the play-offs just four points behind sixth-placed Middlesbrough, who defeated Leeds United last night. They look to be starting with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Tom Barkhuizen leading the line supported by the trio of Paul Gallagher, Billy Bodin and Callum Robinson. However, it’s perhaps a little surprising that neither Josh Harrop nor Daniel Johnson, who could both provide a threat from wide, make the starting line-up.
Here are today’s starting line-ups. You can follow all the action from the Macron in the Comments section below, and feel free to let us know your thoughts on all things Wanderers related in the same place.
Bolton Wanderers (3-5-2): Ben Alnwick; Dorian Dervite, David Wheater, Mark Beevers; Filipe Morais, Jem Karacan, Darren Pratley, Josh Vela, Antonee Robinson; Sammy Ameobi, Tyler Walker
Substitutes: Adam Le Fondre, Zach Clough, Jan Kirchhoff, Andrew Taylor, Reece Burke, Aaron Wilbraham, Mark Howard
Preston North End (4-2-3-1): Declan Rudd; Ben Davies, Greg Cunningham, Paul Huntington, Calum Woods; Alan Browne, Ben Pearson; Paul Gallagher, Billy Bodin, Callum Robinson; Tom Barkhuizen
Substitutes: Chris Maxwell, Josh Earl, Tommy Spurr, Josh Harrop, Daniel Johnson, Louis Moult, Sean Maguire