After a couple of draws on the road, Bolton are back at the Macron on Saturday, and it`ll be one of the toughest tests all season as we host Aston Villa. It`s an evening kick-off for the benefit of TV, but Villa are still bringing a big following and it could even be a crowd of over 20,000. After a major setback on Tuesday, Steve Bruce`s side might be looking for a reaction. It`s also a big day for us. A worst-case scenario could mean we finish the day three points above the drop zone. A perfect day however, could have us nine points clear. That would be huge.
“You want to be heading into the international break on the back of a good result. I`d like to see a big as gap as possible on the bottom three. But we haven`t been focusing on the table or who is playing who – it`s more about what we can do to prepare as best as we can for each game.”
Phil Parkinson in the Bolton News.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Darren Pratley has a slight thigh injury which could rule him out. There are no new injury doubts, Jan Kirchhoff, David Wheater and Josh Vela could all make returns to the side if needed.
Player to watch: Ben Alnwick
Could be called upon a lot tomorrow. He`ll be needed at some point and we`ll need a good performance from him to get anything.
Aston Villa Team News:
Neil Taylor is unlikely to be fit tomorrow, which reduces the chance of one of our players` legs getting broken. Former Wanderer Alan Hutton is out, as is Axel Tuanzebe. There are no other injury absentees, with James Bree likely to play.
Player to watch: Robert Snodgrass
Arguably good enough to be a Premier League player, but a move from Hull to West Ham last January didn`t go well, which the player puts at the feet of ex-Hammers boss Slaven Bilic. He`s now on loan in a different claret-and-blue, and has been Villa`s chief creative force this season, with a free-kick in his locker.
Match Facts & Stats
Bolton`s last home game against Aston Villa was way back in 2011, when we lost 2-1. Our last win over them at our place was the season before that, where we won 3-2 in a thriller a few weeks before Stuart Holden got injured and everything promptly fell apart from there.
The reverse fixture was in September, where we lost 1-0 at Villa Park. We matched them that day, and from there we`ve been a far better team.
Bolton have won two, drawn two, and lost one of their last five at the Macron. Villa have won four of their last five away games, the blip coming in a 2-0 defeat at Fulham.
I have the feeling we`ll be on the wrong end of a Villa response here. Bolton 1-2 Villa.
We`ve a week off next week as its international football. After that, we`ve our Easter double-header with a trip to Leeds, followed by a huge home game against Birmingham.