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Preview: Middlesbrough v Bolton Wanderers

Wanderers facing an unenviable trip

Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City - FA Cup Semi Final Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Following on from the week-that-was, Phil Parkinson’s Bolton Wanderers face the trip up to Middlesbrough to take on Tony Pulis’ big-spending side.

As usual, Boro have spent big to try and claw their way out of the Championship. This time, £5m was spent on ex-Manchester United utility man Paddy McNair, £7m on Bristol City’s towering captain Aden Flint, £8m on George Saville from Millwall and untold more on loaning Jordan Hugill from West Ham United.

Granted, they brought in a packet selling Patrick Bamford, Adama Traore and Ben Gibson to Leeds United, Wolves and Burnley respectively, but still. Money talks.

Wanderers fans will remember Traore from the world-class display he put on at the Reebok the other year. Our full-back that day, whoever it was, will still be having nightmares to this day.

Boro’s transfer splurge has resulted in some decent early season form, with Middlesbrough finding themselves in fourth spot, with just the one loss from their seven league games this season - that coming last weekend away 1-0 to Norwich City.

They are three from three at home so far, scoring five without reply. Really bodes well.

Wanderers of course went down 1-2 at home to QPR on Saturday with, let’s face it, a bit of a whimper. Parky’s men will be expected to sort this out pronto.

Boro are of course managed by Tony Pulis. Cap Wearer of the Year 1986-present. Being unable to work his usual magic, he’s chosen instead to spend his way out of the division and, you would expect, the pressure is on. We all saw how Garry Monk left the club without too much fanfare when his relative failure was laid bare - I can’t for one second think that Pulis’ expensive contract won’t have a similar break clause contained within. Let’s hope Wanderers can make a dint in that home form tomorrow night.

I’m not expecting much, but I still hope to be surprised.