Finally. After a couple of days of he said, she said (I’m the he, by the way), a football game will finally break out tomorrow and we can all get back to the one thing that binds us all together as Bolton Wanderers fans.
Slagging off the manager and players after they lose again.
Now, ever the optimist, I do not believe that this will happen tomorrow. It is a must win game if the club is to not suffer the ignominy of falling from the top of the Premier League to the relegation zone of the Championship in the space of just over the year.
Watford have brought in virtually a full team on loan since the ownership of the club changed and Gianfranco Zola came in as manager. It looked to start well for them, beating Palace and Watford in their first three games. However, losses to Bradford in the League Cup and then a 5-1 tonking by Derby before the international break suggested a team that is still getting to know each other. Hopefully, we can take advantage of this tomorrow.
‘“If there is any negativity, then a poor result feeds that negativity. The only way you change it is by winning games. The fans pay good money. They support the club home and away, through thick and thin. They`re fantastic. So it`s up to us to give them something positive to shout about.‘ Now, we’d like to tell you that OC said that Watford was a fantastic club and Zola was a wonderful guy and he’d like to go home with him after the game. However, at the time of writing, the club are making you pay for his wise words. And we haven’t got the £3.99 to spare.
‘Certainly quality wise we are going to play against possibly the best team in the Championship, or certainly one of the best. The position they are in now is not the position they will probably be in at the end of the season, and deserve to be now.‘ I can’t make out if Franco means that we don’t deserve to be where we are, but I think he’ll find that we do.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
A clean bill of health for all the internationals that have been away and David N’Gog will join them in the squad for the first time this season.
Player to watch: Jay Spearing
Went straight into the team at Hull and was the only player who came away with any real sense of a job well done. And that was after a day of training with the club. A fortnight later, the players around him will have a better idea of the way he plays and he should be utilised at every opportunity.
Watford Team News:
With thanks to our friends from Vital Watford:
Zola will have a number of players to assess before this one with loan signings Neuton, Joel Ekstrand and Nathaniel Chalobah not deemed fit enough to travel to Pride Park last time out.
Fitz Hall will not be fit, despite progressing well, the centre-back has suffered a minor injury during the international break. Striker Alex Geijo is fit to play however, and Stephen McGinn has returned to firs-team training.
Skipper John Eustace looks set to miss out again as he recovers from a minor back operation whilst fellow midfielder Prince Buaben is still sidelined by a thigh problem.
Finally, Geoffrey Mujangi Bia is out with a groin problem.
Player to watch: Matěj Vydra
One of the many players brought in from Udinese, Vydra has hit the ground running, with three goals in four games. He made his international debut for the Czech Republic last Saturday in a goalless draw with Denmark. Small. Fast. Just the kind of striker Zat Knight loves.
Match Facts & Stats
Amazingly, to me at least, Bolton and Watford have played each other just twenty times in the league since a goalless draw at Vicarage Road in August 1969. Over that time, Watford lead 9-7 in results, with Bolton holding a 6-3 lead at Burnden/T’Reebok. Our leading scorer in the fixture is Super John McGinlay with the princely sum of three goals, scored in 1994. This makes him the leading scorer in the second tier as well. Owen Coyle scored one of his twenty three goals for the club against Watford.
The last time the clubs met, Bolton took it 1-0 in a Premier League fixture at Vicarage Road in 2007.
Eddie Ilderton. Another in a never ending list of referees that have never officiated at a Bolton league game. However, Ilderton has, in fact, taken charge of a Bolton game in the past, the 2-1 League Cup victory over Macclesfield last season. On that occasion he booked David Wheater. So no chance of that repeating itself tomorrow.
This season so far he has taken charge of two league games, producing twelve yellows and one red. His total for the season already stands at twenty yellows. So, SKD better keep his elbows down.
Again, I fancy Watford to score as our defence, for all the talk of cutting out mistakes, will still make mistakes. Four league clean sheets over the space of a year tell their own story. So, 2-1 to the home side.
After the first of the three ‘big’ fixtures, we travel to Birmingham on Tuesday before visiting Hillsborough next Saturday. Apposite timing, I call it.