After a quiet transfer deadline day, the mighty Wanderers welcome Lee Johnson’s Bristol City side to the University of Bolton Stadium with last week’s incredible victory at West Brom fresh in their minds. The Robins, searching for their first victory of the season, held big spending Nottingham Forest to a 1-1 draw on the opening day and will be hoping to halt the Bolton juggernaut.
Buoyed by the opening day’s impressive display, and coupled with a steady influx of higher quality players over the summer, the Bolton faithful will be in high spirits and optimistic that PP’s boys can extend the winning run.
In the corresponding fixture last year, Bolton pulled off a surprise 1-0 victory over the high flying League Cup semi-finalists, with a fine solo effort from goalscorer Sammy Ameobi, just hours after being written off by many pundits following big Gary Madine’s January deadline departure. Bolton ripped up the script and clung on to the Championship status, with the victory against Bristol, in front of the Sky cameras, seen as a real turning point.
Bolton have a good home record against the Robins, having lost just once in the last ten fixtures in all competitions. In contrast, Bristol City are on a shocking away run of form and are winless in 14 away matches in all competitions. They’re also a bit suspect at set pieces so that may play a part. It is expected that the Robins will bring around 600 fans up the M5, so I’m not expecting a bumper crowd, but it is pay on the day for them so if the cider sloshing locals fancy it, their following may increase.
It will be interesting to see how Parky lines up at home and whether he will keep faith in the same formation and chargers he deployed at West Brom. He may go all out with two strikers in a standard 4-4-2 but I’m guessing we’ll stick with the same 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 formation with options to change it as the game unfolds.
Bolton have an injury concern over Sammy Ameobi who limped off early in the second half at the Hawthorns, giving Craig Noone a chance of his first start. Clayton Donaldson missed the win at West Brom with a groin strain but has resumed training this week so may figure. Another doubt is veteran Gary O’Neil who will be hoping to be fit to play some part in the game against his former club, having been released by the Robins in May.
Bristol City winger Hakeeb Adelakun has been ruled out for up to 14 weeks with an ankle injury. The 22-year-old, who joined the Robins on a three-year deal last month, has undergone surgery after picking up the injury during a pre-season game. Midfielder Marley Watkins sustained concussion during the club’s pre-season training camp in Spain and missed out last week, so will be hoping to return. Bailey Wright has returned to training after a thigh strain.
Famara Diedhiou, is also absent as he serves the second of a six-match ban dating back to a spitting offence last season, a la Dioufy style.
Bristol are also hoping to find loan replacements for Bobby Reid, Aden Flint and Fulham bound Joe Bryan, who all left in the summer. Jay DaSilva, a once mooted target for Bolton, will go straight into Bristol’s squad, after signing from Chelsea on a season long loan (fool).
The referee is John Brooks, who takes charge for the first time at Bolton. He reffed in League One last week at Sunderland, but I’m sure we will all give John a lovely welcome…..
Bristol are favourites with SkyBet but it’s anyone’s guess at this stage of the season
Bolton 17/10, Bristol City 7/5 and the draw is 2/1.
Odds on a price increase on food and drinks in the ground is an unappetising 1/1,000,000
After an away day to remember, I’d be happy with a draw and to take 4 points from our opening two games would be a very decent start. Although Bristol will have a lot of possession and are a good passing side, I honestly think we will win again and be sitting pretty at the top of the table come 5pm on Saturday
2-1 Bolton (with Big Wheats getting off the mark)