Bolton face the first of two quick-fire home games tomorrow when they host Nottingham Forest.
It’s the first time we’ve played them since that Sunday afternoon in May. It’s a different situation for both teams now. The league is quite tight at the moment, and while there is discontent over our recent form, we’re still only three points behind Forest, who had started the weekend in the playoff spots before losing at home to Norwich. This is an important week though because two defeats would almost certainly drag us into the lower reaches of the table, as opposed to the gap we do have over the bottom four or five at the moment.
Gary O’Neil will miss the next couple of games, so Josh Vela or Luke Murphy will replace him in midfield. Luca Connell travelled to Rotherham and could get on the bench tomorrow, but Stephen Ireland will not feature yet. Whether Bolton revert to a back four is a whole other debate too.
Forest may make a few changes due to their defensive frailties. Jack Robinson is back from suspension which may allow Ben Osborn to go back into midfield. Saidy Janko, once a Wanderer, could come back in for Tendai Darikwa, whose positioning was gloriously poor when Wilbraham headed home in May.
Forest player to watch
Joao Carvalho – The Portuguese number 10 signed for a record fee in the summer having played a few senior games for Benfica. He’ll provide ammunition for Lewis Grabban, who scored for Sunderland against us last season.
Facts and stats
We haven’t lost at home to Forest in the league since Brian Clough was in charge, that occasion being in the late 70s. Four of our last five meetings at our place have ended in draws, we all know what happened in the other match.
Bolton can’t drop any lower this week, but they could go above current ninth-placed Forest with an eight-goal winning margin.
Wanderers have two wins at home so far, Forest have one away win, last time out at Middlesbrough.
Only Rotherham have scored fewer goals than us, we’re with a bunch of teams on 11.
Much has been talked of our opponents’ defensive frailties, but only six teams in the Championship have conceded fewer goals.
Impossible to predict us at the moment, I could live with a point. 1-1.
We host Hull on Saturday before next Friday’s trip to Aston Villa.