Bolton Match Zone

Preview: Could Bolton Line Up Like This Against Barnsley?

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Bolton turn their attention to the Carabao Cup tomorrow night and it’s the chance to test ourselves against Championship opposition as last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists Barnsley come to town.

It looks like as much as anything, this will be used almost a half a friendly. Well, friendly might be going too far, but both sides are set to shuffle their decks a little bit with the league taking priority. It does raise the age old debate of whether we should be going for it in the cups. Realistically, no League One side is going to win it, but it’d be nice to have a proper cup run, because it’s been a while. In fact, we haven’t won a League Cup tie since 2017, when we made it through two rounds before losing at West Ham.

As an aside, this one is on TV abroad. If you aren’t going, well, work it out.

Team news

There will be starts for Kieran Lee and Ricardo Santos as we try and fine tune those two. Declan John has picked up a slight knock, the plan appears to rest him tomorrow, but he will be okay for Saturday’s trip to Wimbledon. Will Aimson, Xavier Amaechi and Liam Edwards all remain sidelined. Also, being a cup game, will Joel Dixon get a go between the sticks?

Possible XI: Dixon; Jones, Santos, Johnston, Gordon; Lee, Williams; Bakayoko, Sarcevic, Afolayan; Doyle

The opposition

Barnsley had a brilliant season last campaign, unexpectedly ending up in the play-offs. They have had a lot of upheaval in the summer though – boss Valerien Ismael went to West Brom, while star striker Daryl Dike went back after a loan spell from MLS. New boss Markus Schopp will keep the pressing game but wants to play out from the back a lot more, and they started their Championship season with a draw at Cardiff. No idea who will actually play, but players to watch include Michal Helik, a centre back who went to the Euros with Poland, Dane Mads Andersen is another regular fixture in defence, while goalkeeper Jack Walton had time in our academy.

Previously

Our recent record against Barnsley is very good, with no defeat at home since 1994. Our last home game against them was in the Championship in December 2017. We won 3-1, Gary Madine scored either side of a Tom Bradshaw penalty, then Mark Little scored from the edge of the area to seal the points and take us out of the bottom three. That Wilbraham goal kept us up on the final day as Barnsley dropped down to League One.

Prediction

A free hit in a way, as these types of games are. I expect us to give Barnsley a game, but they’ll be favourites and that might just show. 2-1 away win.

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