It’s never nice going back to a ground where you’ve been absolutely annihilated in recent memory. But Bolton Wanderers must exorcise the demons of a 7-1 hammering in January 2014 as they return to Reading for a huge relegation battle this evening.
One plus point from a Wanderers point of view is that Adam Le Fondre, hat-trick hero on that fateful day, is now among their ranks.
Somewhat surprisingly, these two sides have only met 34 times in their history - mainly as a result of not meeting in 80 years between 1904 and 1984 - with both sides winning 13, so hopefully it’s time for Bolton to be lucky tonight.
However, recent history does not bode well in our favour. Bolton haven’t defeated Reading since both were Premier League sides, when a 2-0 away win back in February 2008 saw a certain Gary Cahill make his Wanderers debut. That season Bolton also completed the league double over their opponents, but haven’t tasted success in the last seven outings, have lost five of their last seven trips to Reading and only ever won there three times in 14 attempts. Oh dear.
Phil Parkinson rings the changes again - 7, I make it - following the awful home defeat to Preston, with Adam Le Fondre starting up front on his own. Which is obviously a great idea when we start playing hoofball up to him.
I think Parky will start in a 4-5-1 formation, which could easily turn into 4-3-2-1 with Jan Kirchhoff, on his full debut, potentially stepping out of defence. Reece Burke comes into the side as Dorian Dervite drops to the bench and David Wheater misses out completely, while Jon Flanagan also makes a full debut and Andrew Taylor returns in place of Antonee Robinson, while Karl Henry returns from suspension alongside Darren Pratley in midfield.
What we do have tonight is width but no big striker to get crosses into, which seems a little odd. We will have to at least try and pass the ball a little bit to counter that.
The hosts hand a debut to 17-year-old centre-back Tom Holmes, whose picked ahead of former Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett. Chris Martin leads the line, supported by speed from wide in Sone Aluko and Modou Barrow.
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Here are tonight’s starting line-ups.
Reading (4-3-2-1): Anssi Jaakola; Chris Gunter, Liam Moore, Tom Holmes, George Evans; Dave Edwards, Pelle Clement, Liam Kelly; Sone Aluko, Modou Barrow; Chris Martin
Substitutes: Vito Mannone, Joey Van Den Berg, John Swift, Tiago Ilori, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Tyler Blackett, Sam Smith
Bolton Wanderers (5-4-1): Ben Alnwick; Jon Flanagan, Reece Burke, Jan Kirchhoff, Mark Beevers, Andrew Taylor; Filipe Morais, Darren Pratley, Karl Henry, Will Buckley; Adam Le Fondre
Substitutes: Aaron Wilbraham, Zach Clough, Craig Noone, Jem Karacan, Antonee Robinson, Dorian Dervite, Mark Howard