Bolton begin life under Keith Hill tomorrow – and life at home under Football Ventures – when they play Bradford in the opening group game of the Leasing.com Trophy.
A feel good factor seems set to boost the gate for what normally would be a match that pretty much everyone would skip. The club have sensibly priced tickets at a fiver, and while it’s probably unlikely, some have wondered whether they’ll have to open more than just the West Stand Lower.
Wanderers may still well go with the kids tomorrow, despite those nine signings made on deadline day. One of the more contentious rules about this competition is the number of ‘first team’ players a team has to play, which ironically for us means we’ll have to play some of our youngsters anyway.
Bradford had made an unbeaten league start after dropping into League Two this season, but they’ll come into this game off the back of consecutive defeats. They lost at home to Forest Green, before Crewe beat them 2-1 at the weekend. Clayton Donaldson is there, and even scored a goal in a big win over Oldham. Aramide Oteh and Dylan Connolly joined them on deadline day.
Anyway, back to us. This is a competition I’d actually like to see us have a bit of a crack at if possible. We’ll start it with a clean slate, no points deductions in this, while we could even fancy our chances against a few of these teams depending on what they put out. And while the group stage (which I don’t mind), the under-21 sides (who shouldn’t be in this) and early rounds in general feel unimportant, imagine if we got to Wembley. What a day that would be, after all we’ve been through.