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Match Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Sheffield Wednesday

Another crucial clash in Bolton’s unlikely relegation fight, despite players still not being paid

Birmingham City v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship
Could evergreen Gary O’Neil be Bolton’s hero again as Sheffield Wednesday come to town tonight?
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Bolton Wanderers go in search of their first back-to-back home wins in more than 15 months as they welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the UniBol tonight. Such a wild accomplishment has not been tasted since a 1-0 victory over Hull City on New Year’s Day last year, which followed on from a 2-0 win against Cardiff City one week previously.

Repeating that feat tonight would, for 24 hours at least, put Bolton within two points of safety, which seemed highly unlikely before the weekend victory over Millwall.

However, Bolton’s players look likely go into the clash knowing that they have still yet to be paid and with no further update on the progress of a potential takeover. This led to them yesterday issuing a statement outlining their frustration with the Chairman, as the situation becomes more farcical by the hour.

The Chairman’s ongoing refusal to pay the players means that this could, in theory, be their last games for the club, given that they potentially have the right to rip up their contracts if they still haven’t been paid by Thursday.

Trotters & Owls’ recent history

The good news is that Wanderers have only lost once at home to Wednesday in nearly 36 years since a 2-0 loss in Division Two in April 1983. Despite losing 1-0 at Hillsborough earlier this season, Wanderers have also only lost two of the last 10 games in all competitions between the two sides and 3 of the last 16 going back to 1998.

Also, Phil Parkinson has never lost a home match against Sheffield Wednesday, winning 7 and drawing 5 of his previous 12 home clashes with The Owls. While Steve Bruce has lost all of his previous three visits to Bolton, with his last success with Sunderland in 2011.

However, tonight Bolton come up against a Wednesday side in a rich vein of form under new manager Steve Bruce. They’ve gone 10 games unbeaten - since a 3-0 loss at Hull on 12 January - in which they’ve drawn five of their last six matches and their last three away games. Although they haven’t completed a league double over Bolton since 1982/83 so, on that basis, get your money on a draw!

Team News

Bolton have suspended trio Jason Lowe, David Wheater and David Noone available for selection again, although none of them really have a case for being restored to the starting eleven.

The visitors have injury headaches in attack, with both Fernando Forestieri and Steven Fletcher doubtful, but could welcome back Gary Hooper after 14 months out with a groin injury. Former Bolton loanee Barry Bannan is likely to start in midfield.

Match Odds:

Bolton Wanderers: 10/3

Draw: 12/5

Sheffield Wednesday: 21/20