Bolton Match Zone

Bolton Look To Close In On Top Three As They Host Walsall

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After the rarest of things – a free midweek, Bolton get back on the promotion hunt tomorrow as they host struggling Walsall,

We may not have played midweek, but a number of our rivals did, and the results went really, really well. If we won tomorrow, we could climb as high as fourth, and even be a point off Forest Green ahead of our trip there next weekend. We’re in the hunt, there’s no two ways about it.

IAN EVATT | Manager ahead of Walsall home fixture – YouTube

Team news

Antoni Sarcevic will be out for a few weeks after it was revealed he tore his hamstring in last week’s win at Port Vale. Lloyd Isgrove is the favourite to come into the starting eleven, but there is unlikely to be any unenforced changes. We’ve also been given an explanation on the goalkeeping situation this week, with Ian Evatt saying that Harry Brockbank has been donning the gloves in training, which would mean he would come in if something happened to Matt Gilks in-game. Can’t wait for him to be between the sticks when England win the World Cup in 2026.

Last time out

Our last home game against Walsall was an FA Cup third round tie two seasons ago. We trailed twice, but ultimately a Josh Magennis hat-trick (the last hat-trick scored by a Bolton player), a Clayton Donaldson strike and a Danny Guthrie own goal saw us win 5-2. We would go out in the next round, away at Bristol City.

The opposition

Walsall are 19th, nine points above the bottom two. Darrell Clarke left recently for Port Vale, so they’re currently in caretaker control. We managed to speak to Vital Walsall’s Roberto Petrucco to get the inside track on the Saddlers.

“Defensively we have had a mixed season, with a lot of injuries. Dan Scarr is missing, but captain James Clarke returned to the team midweek. He had a fantastic game, and showed every bit of his experience. He is very good at this level, and if he is on his game, he will make it tough for the opposition team. In front of him is Liam Kinsella, who is a class act in League Two. He works hard in midfield, and is rightly getting plaudits for his ball winning skills. Liam wins a lot of second balls, and can break up play to ease the pressure on the defence. He may be small in stature, but he can be a tough tackler when needed.”

We could see a former Wanderer in Hayden White: “His performances have been average at best, and he has shown he has a mistake in him too. Recently he has started improving, and has had an extended run in the team. Many were excited when he signed, but he has not done a lot to overtake Cameron Norman at right-back, who has had his best season for the club.”

Prediction

This is a game we’re obviously looking to win but I do expect another tight one. I’ll go for a 1-0 Bolton win.

I also took questions from Vital Walsall about Bolton’s season so far. If you’re interested in reading, you can do so here

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