Bolton Match Zone

Bolton Embark On League One Again – How Will We Go?


It’s back. Football’s back, competitive league football in front of a crowd is back, and Bolton go into a season with quiet, but proper optimism. Lovely stuff.

Firstly, what will constitute a good season this time around? Ian Evatt, one never to dampen expectations, has mentioned promotion. Some fans would say the same thing. It’s a massively open league, packed with many big clubs. Ipswich are touted by many as the team to beat, but they’ve had a massive squad overhaul and it might take time for them to get going. Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton and Portsmouth could all be up there. Sunderland too, but they’ll probably find a way to implode as ever. Oxford and Lincoln will be hoping to improve on their play-off status last season.

Arguably, we could count ourselves in the myriad of sides who reckon they could be up the right part of the table. But we are a newly promoted team out of League Two, and while the summer signings have been largely good, we might still be a little short compared to the biggest if hitters. Back-to-back promotions could also be a touch counterproductive, a good mid-table season followed a promotion the following season in the long term might see us better prepared for the Championship. Not that I’ll be thinking that if we’ve got a shout of going up come the final day…

Onto tomorrow’s match then. MK Dons travel up to our place having lost manager Russell Martin to Swansea last weekend. Dean Lewington, who was at MK Dons since before they nicked Wimbledon and upped roots, will be in temporary charge.

IAN EVATT | Wanderers manager previews MK Dons league season opener – YouTube

Team news

Xavier Amaechi and Liam Edwards are both injured, but apart from that, in theory, everyone else is available. In practice, the nature of pre-season, with the fitness concerns and all that, mean that the likes of Ricardo Santos, Kieran Lee, Eoin Doyle and Matt Gilks could still miss out. Elias Kachunga signed today and he may go straight into the matchday squad.

The opponents

As mentioned, Russell Martin departed for Swansea, leaving Dean Lewington in charge. MK finished mid-table last season, improving with some decent football to boot, but now the franchise will have to cope without the boss that engineered that. Players to watch include Mo Eisa, who joined from local rivals Peterborough in the summer, after his second season there didn’t come close to matching his first. Scott Twine scored six in 19 for Newport last season, and Matt O’Riley, who has been a regular in midfield since joining from Fulham in January.

Last time out

Bolton moved into positive points the last time they played MK Dons at home, back in November 2019. Daryl Murphy had seen a late penalty saved, but in stoppage time would go on to turn in Luke Murphy’s cross.


It’s always difficult guessing the first game of the season, because not even the self-proclaimed experts have too much of a handle on things. Both teams have a bit of uncertainty, we’ve had fitness issues, they’ve lost their manager. We play similar football. It could be a close match, but I fancy us to nick it. Like the last time, 1-0 again.

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