For the first time in a while Bolton Wanderers’ Championship survival is no longer in their own hands, which is a pretty shocking turn of events considering where we were a few weeks ago. Bolton now rest just two points ahead of 22nd placed Barnsley, who also have a game in hand.
This decline is down to a dreadful run of just three wins since New Year’s Day and, moreover, an inability to score goals that must be rectified, and quickly. The first opportunity to do just that is tonight, as Millwall make the long trip north from south London to the Macron.
Having faced the impossible, statistically speaking, last time out at Derby and failed miserably, Wanderers will be hoping the statistical fortunes continue this evening. Bolton are undefeated in their last eight clashes against Millwall, of which they have won five, and only lost once to The Lions in the last 12 meetings, going way back to 1994.
However, Millwall - who were promoted via the play-offs from League One behind Bolton last season, remember - find themselves in the midst of an astounding run of form that has taken them to within just one point of the top six. In stark contrast to their hosts, Millwall are 15 league games unbeaten, last tasting defeat at Norwich on New Year’s Day, and have only lost twice since the end of November.
Phil Parkinson returns to a back four, with Jon Flanagan and Andrew Taylor returning at full-back. Derik Osede and Darren Pratley return in midfield, while Craig Noone and Sammy Ameobi both also come in on the wings. Josh Vela is dropped to the bench, where he’s not joined by either Connor Hall or Jeff King, who were both apparently in the matchday squad. Will Buckley, for some reason, is on the bench though, and there’s no striker on the bench. Go figure.
Millwall make one change, with former Wimbledon striker Tom Elliott in for Steve Morison. Their danger men are likely to be wingers Ben Marshall and Jed Wallace, while George Saville is a goal threat from midfield. They also have Tim Cahill available from the bench.
Here are tonight’s starting line-ups. You can follow all the action from the Macron in the Comments section below, where you can also let us know your thoughts on all things Wanderers related - i.e. are we going down?
Bolton Wanderers (4-2-3-1): Ben Alnwick; Jon Flanagan, David Wheater, Mark Beevers, Andrew Taylor; Karl Henry, Derik Osede; Sammy Ameobi, Darren Pratley, Craig Noone; Adam Le Fondre
Substitutes: Zach Clough, Will Buckley, Filipe Morais, Josh Vela, Antonee Robinson, Reece Burke, Mark Howard
Millwall (4-4-2): Jordan Archer; Mahlon Romeo, Jake Cooper, Shaun Hutchinson, James Meredith; Ben Marshall, George Saville, Shaun Williams, Jed Wallace; Tom Elliott, Lee Gregory
Substitutes: David Martin, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Tim Cahill, Fred Onyedinma, Steve Morison, Aiden O’Brien, Jason Shackell