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Match Preview: Bolton Wanderers vs Southend United

Can Bolton make it five wins in a row?

Scunthorpe United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Mick Walker - CameraSport via Getty Images

The UniBol is a much happier place after three successive wins in the league and four in all competitions as ‘Brand Evatt’ starts to take shape. Battling away wins at Stevenage and Scunthorpe have given the club a huge lift and the Whites come into this game against basement-dwellers Southend United in buoyant mood.

Evatt has been able to name an unchanged side now for those three games and this consistency of selection has no doubt helped turn what was looking like a pretty precarious situation around. The performances of the back three of Alex Baptiste, Ricardo Santos and Ryan Delaney have been the bedrock of the improvement, with just one goal conceded in the winning streak, while partnerships continue to develop in other areas of the pitch. That should hopefully continue on Saturday as the Bolton boss reported a clean bill of health in his pre-match press conference apart from long-term absentees Dennis Politic, Liam Edwards and the nearing-full-fitness Harry Brockbank.

The starting eleven from Tuesday night seemingly having been given two days off before coming in to training on Friday which should aid with their freshness.

The Shrimpers have been improved of late and finally got the monkey off their backs when snatching a late win at Walsall two weeks ago, after surviving a missed penalty before taking the lead. Blues next game at Cambridge was postponed due to a late COVID outbreak in the squad but they returned to action when losing out by a solitary strike to Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday evening.

Blues boss Mark Molesley will be without Emile Acquah, scorer of the winner in that game at Walsall, as well as Tottenham loanee Kaziah Sterling and Ashley Nathaniel-George who are all self-isolating but wily veteran midfielder Alan McCormack may be ready to return to the starting line-up after getting twenty minutes under his belt in midweek. Harry Lennon, Nathan Ralph, Kyle Taylor and Lewis Gard continue to remain absent.

John Busby will be the referee in charge on Saturday and has issued 33 yellow cards and three red cards during his 12 games

Whilst the Trotters upturn in fortunes is clear, they haven’t been blowing sides away and this could turn into a cagey affair if it remains goalless in the first half-hour. I’m going for another narrow win for the Wanderers with Eoin Doyle getting his third in four games. Wanderers are 8/15 with Skybet to take the win and it’s 15/1 that Doyle is the only goalscorer in the game.