Date: 31st October 2015 at 8:16am
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Jack Crosland writes on some of our old rivals ahead of our clash with Preston North End

Old Rivals

Bolton head to Deepdale on Saturday for the first league clash between these clubs since the 2001 First Division Play OffFinal. Will they serve up a treat in front of the Sky cameras? Or will it be a Blackburn-esque damp squib? Time will tell, ever the optimist I`m hoping by the law of averages we have to win eventually! With this game in mind, I ask: Who are Bolton`s biggest rivals? I evaluate the candidates.

Preston North End
Last Meeting: Bolton 3-0 Preston, First Division Play Off Final 2001
Played For Both Teams: Kevin Davies
He finished his career with a promotion at Preston following his departure from The Whites. He was a symbol of the old Bolton, strong, passionate and a quality player. The Wanderers legend will always be remembered for THAT goal in Munich.

Are They Our Biggest Rival?
No. By sheer lack of games our rivalry with The Lilywhites has faded. Will sparks fly this weekend? You would probablybe best looking towards Blackpool to find the feistiest clash on Preston`s calendar.

Last Meeting: Burnley 2-0 Bolton, Sky Bet Championship 2015
Played For Both Teams: Chris Eagles
Eagles was pivotal to Owen Coyle`s promotion winning Burnley team before following Coyle to The Reebok. Initially a bit part figure and often a scape goat, he turned into a key man following Bolton`s relegation and his departure at the end of the 2013-14 season split opinion. Now at Bury, he may feel his career never hit the heights it often promised.

Are They Our Biggest Rival?
For Owen Coyle`s reign at Bolton you could probably argue that Burnley were our biggest rival. Coyle left Burnley for Bolton to replace Gary Megson which sparked a series of hot blooded affairs. Lee Chung Yong`s winner in Coyle`s first home game will certainly go down in the memory. However now the Coyle saga is over, Blackburn are easily the most hated team in Burnley.

Blackburn Rovers
Last Meeting: Blackburn 0-0 Bolton
Played For Both Teams: El Hadji-Diouf
Diouf represented Bolton during the glory days and is remembered fondly amongst the Wanderers fans. A victim of Gary Megson`s mission to remove any player with any character in the squad, he was sold to Sunderland after 3 years at The Reebok. After a fairly unsuccessful spell he was reunited with Big Sam at Rovers where he made 60 appearances before a spell in the SPL with Rangers.

Are They Our Biggest Rival?
A contender for the title. A number of classics between Blackburn and ourselves spring to mind, Jussi`s double penalty save at Ewood, Stu Holden`s winner, or what about Emile Heskey`s debut goal? If only they weren`t so concerned with the Burnley they would possibly make the cut. However, their fierce hatred for the Clarets means that Bolton areprobably not at the top of Blackburn`s Most Hated list and therefore they`re not at the top of ours.

Wigan Athletic
Last Meeting: Wigan 1-1 Bolton, Sky Bet Championship 2015
Played for Both: Ali Al Habsi
The man between the sticks in Munich. He will always be remembered fondly in Bolton for his heroics at the Allianz but has probably enjoyed his most consistent run of football at Wigan. After playing against Bolton whilst on loan at Wigan he sparked a bizarre situation where both sets of fans were singing his name.

Are They Our Biggest Rivals?
I think we`ve found a winner. Ever since they were promoted to the Premier League under Paul Jewell there was been a steady increase in the mutual dislike between the fans. Their hilarious double relegation was celebrated across Bolton and with them likely to come up this season, let`s hope we stick around for a reunion clash with the Latics.


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