Welcome along to a massive Championship relegation clash as Bolton Wanderers welcome Reading to the University of Bolton Stadium this evening. A win could, conceivably, see Bolton escape the relegation zone, although a win by more than four goals is - at best - unlikely.
It’s a chilly old night in Bolton, which has led our ever commercial-savvy glorious leader to launch a woolly hats and scarves promotion on Twitter. Lovely stuff. But you may want to cash in, as the chances of the on-field action warming you up are pretty slim.
Bolton not only have the worst home record in The Championship, scoring just 8 goals and conceding 18 in their 14 home matches, they also have the worst attacking home threat in the EFL. Only Premier League sides Crystal Palace (5) and Huddersfield (6) have scored less, having of course played less matches. Furthermore, only Ipswich (36) have had less shots on target at home in The Championship this season than Bolton’s meagre tally of 37.
Reading, meanwhile, have the league’s fifth-worst away record, scoring only 12 times on the road and conceding 21 - the same as leaders Leeds United - on their way to collecting 9 points in their 14 away matches.
Bolton’s recent record against Reading is a bit of a mixed bag. The 1-0 win at the Madejski back in August was the first victory over The Royals in nine meetings and we’ve only won three of our last 14 games against them. However, we are unbeaten in the last three games against Reading as the sides shared two draws last season.
That draw saw Reading extend their unbeaten run at Bolton to four games, of which three have been draws - so you know where the smart money is.
The big team news for Bolton is that Connell retains his place in the starting line-up, lining up in midfield alongside Gary O’Neil and Jason Lowe. David Wheater shakes off a niggle to start alongside Jack Hobbs, while goal-shy striker Clayton Donaldson starts up front with wide support from Sammy Ameobi and Craig Noone.
Reading hand debuts to new loan signings Nelson Oliveira, Emiliano Martinez and Matt Miazga, while fellow new boys Lewis Baker and Ovie Ejaria are on the bench. They look to be lining up in a similar formation, with their own young midfielder 21-year-old Andy Rinomhota starting alongside Leandro Bacuno and John Swift, who’ll be looking to pull the strings, and a bit of unpredictable threat from wide in Sone Aluko and Modou Barrow - who scored an equalising penalty in this fixture last season. The Royals have their own youth talent 18-year-old striker Danny Loader on the bench.
Here are tonight’s starting line-ups. You can follow all the action from the UniBol in the Comments section below and over on our Twitter feed.
Bolton Wanderers (4-3-2-1): Remi Matthews; Pawel Olkowski, David Wheater, Jack Hobbs, Andrew Taylor; Luca Connell, Jason Lowe, Gary O’Neil; Craig Noone, Sammy Ameobi; Clayton Donaldson
Substitutes: Josh Magennis, Joe Pritchard, Will Buckley, Luke Murphy, Jonathan Grounds, Mark Little, Ben Williams
Reading (4-3-2-1): Emiliano Martinez; Chris Gunter, Matt Miazga, Liam Moore, Andy Yiadom; Andy Rinomhota, Leandro Bacuna, John Swift; Sone Aluko, Modou Barrow; Nelson Oliveira
Substitutes: Sam Walker, Gareth McCleary, Callum Harriott, Lewis Baker, Ovie Ejaria, Tyler Blackett, Danny Loader