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Preview: Bolton Wanderers vs Portsmouth

Wanderers return home to face Pompey

Portsmouth v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - Fratton Park Photo by Kieran Cleeves/PA Images via Getty Images

Following on from Saturday’s 1-1 draw against local rivals Wigan Athletic at the DW, Bolton Wanderers return home to face Portsmouth.

There’s not much to play for now except a top half finish and pride, despite the noises coming out of the club from players and Evatt suggesting our doomed play-off chase is not yet done. They have to tow the party line but even if we won our last 6, it’s almost certain that it still wouldn’t be enough.

After this tough test at the UniBol we welcome Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday (insert Ted Lasso quote here). The last four then are eminently winnable; Easter brings an away trip to Donny on Good Friday and a home encounter with Accy on Easter Monday. A trip to the Cotswolds to face a bonkers Cheltenham leads onto a final day revenge mission against Fleetwood at the UniBol, where I hope to god we send those seaside dwellers down with their Captain Pugwash nonsense!

It has been confirmed that Lloyd Isgrove is to miss the rest of the season and possibly the start of next with the re-occurrence of his hamstring injury that forced him off after 25 minutes of his comeback against Fleetwood u23’s.

He joins Josh Sheehan, Andy Tutte, Marlon Fossey and possibly now Declan John, who missed the derby with a back issue, in being ruled out for the campaign.

One ray of light is the impending return of Kieran Lee after an op on a bone spur on his heel healed quicker than first thought. I think he could well take a place on the bench with a view to playing the last thirty minutes.

The second half at Wigan on Saturday lunchtime was much, much better than the first and gives me hope that we won’t join the many beach dwellers, basking in the EFL safety sunshine until the curtain comes down on the 21/22 season.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is pushing for a start, given his superb header at the DW. Dion Charles could be rested after a lean spell but Amadou Bakayoko’s best moments have been off the bench, so I see Evatt persevering with the Northern Irish international. He looks set to name a keeper-less bench again too, with the likes of Elias Kachunga (surely dropped for Bodvarsson), the under-used Xav Amaechi and Bakayoko offering him plenty of forward options.

I’d like to see Liam Gordon at LWB as a natural left sided option there instead of Kieran Sadlier, who left Rotherham as he didn’t want to play wing back. Not that he was particularly poor at Wigan and was tidy enough in possession. More just that the natural balance of the side is affected by having a right footer on that side.

Portsmouth have lost just once in their last five games, though they have failed to score in their last three. Anything other than a win tonight for Pompey would more than likely put an end to their slim chances of making the top six.

I’m predicting a Wanders win tonight with a 2-1 victory. Charles to end his drought and Dapo to build on an encouraging display at Wigan with the winner. Harness to equalise for Pompey.