Bolton Match Zone

Please Don’t Lose: Bolton Return After International Hiatus With Wigan Test


Bolton have had a bit of time off, well as a club maybe.

While the international fortnight was going on though, four of our players were away, all contributing to their teams in some value, with the highlights being Amadou Bakayoko’s first international goal, while James Trafford was England’s man in the middle of the sticks when the under-20 side beat Germany in Colchester on Tuesday night.

It’s good to see Wanderers players on the international stage, but now it’s back on the main focus and it doesn’t get much bigger than away trip to Wigan. There’s some debate whether it has become the main rivalry. People have their own personal tastes and experiences, while where we are in relation to other clubs play a part. In recent years though, we’ve played Wigan more than the other ‘candidates’ so it definitely feels like the main one at the moment.

On the pitch, we have the chance to go above Portsmouth into 10th ahead of that game on Tuesday, with Pompey not having a game this weekend due to Rotherham’s involvement in the EFL Trophy Final. The play-off gap could be cut to eight points although it’s a next to impossible job now if we’re being honest. Avoiding defeat meanwhile, would stop Wigan going top of the table, which would be funny.

Team news 

The bad news is Lloyd Isgrove is out for the season after suffering a further injury during his reserve team appearance recently, which means Kieran Sadlier will probably keep his place on the right. The brilliant news is Gethin Jones is back after compassionate leave, while Kieran Lee could be available although it would be a surprise to see him start.

Possible XI: Trafford; Jones, Almeida Santos, Johnston; Sadlier, Williams, Morley, John; Afolayan; Kachunga, Bakayoko

Last time

This isn’t our first trip to the DW this season – we went there in the second round of the Carabao Cup back in August. A side much different to the one we’ll put out tomorrow drew 0-0 within 90 minutes, but after Jamie Jones scored Wigan’s first sudden death penalty, Nathan Delfouneso couldn’t score his and we were eliminated from that competition. Only two of our six takers have a chance to be involved tomorrrow – Dapo Afolayan and Lee. Josh Sheehan is injured, while Delfouneso, Antoni Sarcevic and Eoin Doyle have all left the club.

The opposition

With games in hand, Wigan will fancy their chances of automatic promotion. They’re currently second, one point behind Rotherham, three above MK Dons, and have played two fewer matches than both. Will Keane has 19 goals this season, while James McClean will want something to say. Josh Magennis, a former Bolton player, unfortunately wasn’t two-footed by Dion Charles in Northern Ireland training.


Hopefully, the players who were present in the reverse fixture will want to restore from pride from that embarrassing day. It’s a tough fixture though, would just be glad not to lose really. 2-1 to them.

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