Is this the day we do it, bottle it, or just hold our advantage? It`s our penultimate game of the season and it sees us travelling to Port Vale. The gap over the chasing pack is just two points now, but a win tomorrow, coupled with Fleetwood failing to pick up maximum points at Gillingham, would see us clinch promotion with a game to spare, and despite Vale`s protestations, we`ll probably be on the pitch.
But it`s the business end of the season, where games are obviously pivotal, and if we lost and Fleetwood won, automatic promotion would no longer be in our hands.
I`m already very, very nervous. Someone hold me. Unfortunately, we don’t live in the Sheffield United and Bradford universe where seemingly you get points for big crowds, because again we’re taking more than 4,000 on the road. Hopefully we all actually back the team.
And as this game is so big, the preview deserves more than me. We have Vital Bolton regular Gabe John who has given a few thoughts about the game too.
“They are in pole position. Forget what happened last week because the only thing which matters now is what the players do on Saturday at Port Vale and then against Peterborough.”
Dean Holdsworth speaking to the Bolton News.
Port Vale Team News:
I`ve nicked what is described as a possible lineup off the Stoke Sentinel: Mehmet, De Freitas, Smith, Bikey, Taylor, Eagles, Reeves, Pugh, Foley, Turner, Hooper. Names to note there are our former man Chris Eagles, ex Burnley and Reading centre back Andre Bikey and JJ Hooper, who is the bookies favourites from the Port Vale side of things to start first.
Player to watch: Chris Eagles
Part of the 2011/12 Bolton squad which couldn`t stay in the Premier League, then couldn`t just get into the playoffs a year later. I hope he finally helps us to our goals?
Gabe: A more than familiar name with the Wanderers faithful. After leaving us Eagles experienced a tough spell but recently he has picked himself back up and helping to aid the survival push with Port Vale, with three goals in 17 appearances. Eagles will want to get some retribution against his former club.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
First of all, Gary Madinewatch. He is still unlikely to play. Get some injections in yer. Darren Pratley is also doubtful with a hamstring problem. James Henry, Chris Long and Jem Karacan have been touted by Phil Parkinson to be possible starters.
Player to watch: A few!
Anthony: Filipe Morais and Andy Taylor could be key. It`s a wide pitch at Vale Park, our full back system might just help us get some space to exploit.
Gabe: With Pratley a major doubt, Parkinson is considering starting Jem Karacan. The 28-year-old boasts an impressive career with Premier League experience. The dynamic midfielder will add some much needed energy in midfield on a huge pitch.
Match Facts & Stats
Bolton have only lost one league game ever against Port Vale, a 2-1 defeat in October 1988.
We have won our last six games against Vale, with our last trip there ending in a 1-0 win in February 2000.
Mark Beevers` winner at Southend is the only goal that has been scored in either team`s last four games.
Anthony: I`m going for a frustrating 0-0. I genuinely don`t want this to happen, and it might not.
Gabe: A comfortable 3-0 victory for Wanderers.
What I hope will be our final game of the season next Sunday, at home to Peterborough United.