On the eve of a Lancashire hotpot of a local derby, we should be talking about the excitement of Bolton Wanderers taking on Preston North End at the University of Bolton Stadium.
But, because it’s Bolton, we are not. That’s because today it was revealed that the club potentially faces yet another winding-up petition from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs - the sixth that the club has faced in the last 16 months. This comes in the midst of, according to our chairman, having “two interested parties” in talks to buy the club. But we’ve all heard that one before so frequently that we know not to believe a word of it.
Away from the doom and gloom of off-field dilemmas takes us nicely to the... doom and gloom of on-field dilemmas.
Bolton go into tomorrow’s clash with Preston without a league win in 2019, having failed to claim a victory since beating Rotherham United on Boxing Day. That win is Bolton’s only league success since beating Derby County on 29 September - more than four months ago.
In that time, we’ve only managed to score 13 goals in 20 matches. And looking even further back, 15 goals in our last 25 league matches. So it’s clear where the problem is, given we’re now resigned to having only Clayton Donaldson - who hasn’t scored in 33 (THIRTY-THREE) league games - and Josh Magennis - who hasn’t scored in 23 league games since 15 September. So two strikers who, combined, haven’t scored in 56 (FIFTY-SIX!) league matches.
Whether Phil Parkinson blindly sticks with Donaldson up top remains to be seen (he will, annoyingly),but you’d have to hope that, given the dire form of our forwards, youngster Connor Hall might get an opportunity.
Elsewhere, Jack Hobbs is ruled out with an Achilles injury and Andrew Taylor is doubtful, which means Jonathan Grounds is likely to start at left-back, while Ben Alnwick is expected to return from injury.
There’s not even optimism to take from our recent form against Preston, having failed to beat them in our last five attempts - of which three have been draws, and two have finished 0-0. Preston have, however, won their last two visits to Bolton, and it comes as no surprise to see the bookies make them overwhelming favourites (see below).
You’ll be able to follow all the action from the UniBol via our Live Feed from around 2.30pm tomorrow, and over on our Twitter feed.
Bolton Wanderers: 7/2
Preston North End: 93/100