In a sense, the real work starts here. After good results against Cardiff, Leicester and Blackpool, Dougie Freedman and his revitalised army welcome Barnsley to T’Reebok. A team that you would normally expect to meet with the words ‘it’s only Barnsley’, many forget that the South Yorkshire team have spent a year in the Premier League, rising and falling with us in 1997-98.
Since then they have fallen again before regaining their position in the second tier and this is their seventh straight season in the Championship. Sure, they haven’t done much more than survive in that time. But, survive they have, seeing more illustrious names fall to League One. They are just…..there. Their one real claim to fame is revitalising the career of one Ricardo Vaz Te.
In Boltonian Keith Hill, they have a man with a no nonsense face and a no nonsense manner. So, you can bet he won’t take any nonsense. Some people are, apparently, calling for his head. However, they should remember their town motto.
‘Barnsley. Making Rotherham and Donny look good since 1946‘.
‘I`ve looked at it over the next couple of months and there are only a couple of midweek games, so that`s what I really need as a new manager, full weeks with the players. It enables me to do a bit more work on tactics and on the physical side, so it is a good thing to have.’ And more time to do something about that defence.
“I think Bolton made a very good appointment in the end. The club has an affiliation with the Premier League and the squad Dougie has available is very, very strong. I`m sure he will be successful but he will need time to put his own stamp on things. He has a certain way of playing and that takes time to put together.’ Keith Hill, doing his best Owen Coyle impression. Not a good one, mind.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Other than the long termers, it is a full squad meaning Jacob Butterfield could play against his former team.
Player to watch: David N’Gog
Slightly out of the game last week but, hopefully, a return to T’Reebok will help him pick up where he left off against Cardiff. He proved in that game what an asset he can be. Against Barnsley, he should show it again.
Barnsley Team News:
Marcus Tudgay joined Barnsley on loan during the week and could make his debut.
Player to watch: Craig Davies
I’m not going to make any jokes about his name, or his rise and fall, but Craig Davies started the season like a bullet and then stopped like he had hit a brick wall. His total of six league goals this season does include the four he scored at Birmingham, but that shows that you can’t let him lose you.
Let’s hope he chills on Saturday.
Match Facts & Stats
Bolton and Barnsley first met in 1899 at Oakwell, Bolton running out 6-1 winners in the old second division. Since then, the teams have met thirty two times, with T’Wanderers holding a slender 12-9 lead, 9-2 at Burnden/T’Reebok, including an 8-0 win in 1934.
The last time the teams met was back in the promotiopn season, Michael Ricketts (who he?) scoring the only goal at Oakwell.
Bolton’s leading scorers in the fixture are Sam Marsh and Ray Westwood with four apiece between 1903-1905 in Marsh’s case and Westwood’s all coming in the 8-0 victory. As a result, they are the leading second tier scorers too.
He may have had a full week to work with the defence, but it is still the defence. So, 2-1 to Bolton.
A long old poke to the south coast and Brighton, next Saturday.