It`s Friday Night Football, and Bolton will hope to get straight back into their improving form after a week off as they travel to Preston. It`s the only other North West away league game this season, which probably has helped with us taking around 3,500 fans, probably more, the 20 miles up the M61. It`s arguably a tale of two teams whose league positions don`t tell the whole story. We`re still second bottom, but are now unbeaten since the end of September, and can get out of the drop zone with a win. Preston meanwhile set in a respectable mid-table position, but have had serious injury problems of late and can`t stop losing at the moment.
“All the performances, which have been better, have got to go up another notch. The individuals who have taken their game up a level have got to go up again. That`s what we have been stressing to the lads already this week.”
Phil Parkinson in the Bolton News, saying the right things.
Preston North End Team News:
Sean Maguire and Jordan Hugill are both out so young Arsenal loanee Stephy Mavididi could start. At the back, Preston`s injury room must resemble a warzone. Tom Clarke, Greg Cunningham and Tommy Spurr are all out long term. Calum Woods and Josh Earl are serious doubts, Ben Davies and Darnell Fisher are also set to miss the game. Bring your boots if you`ever fancied playing against Wanderers.
Player to watch: Tom Barkhuizen
He once played for sworn rivals Blackpool but Barkhuizen is now one of Preston`s more dangerous players after joining at the start of the year. Most likely to play wide right, he is very quick and can score a decent goal or two. This season he hasn`t been as prolific in front of goal, with just the two in ten games.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Aaron Wilbraham and Adam Le Fondre have slight injuries and will have to be monitored. Gary Madine will be available for selection after his arrest (and it was ‘just` an arrest) last weekend. I would expect another unchanged starting XI.
Player to watch: Gary Madine
After being in the news for non-footballing reasons last weekend, Madine will be the obvious story. And while the ins and outs will be debated (for what it`s worth, he was released without charge, I think it should be the end of it and let him play) his attitude on the pitch has been perfect in the last two seasons.
Match Facts & Stats
Bolton`s last trip to Deepdale was in October 2015, when the game finished goalless.
Our last win there came in the previous trip, on New Year`s Day in 2001, when Gareth Farrelly and Michael Ricketts scored in a 2-0 win. We don`t play Preston often it seems.
Bolton have failed to win a Championship away game since April 2015, that`s now 33 games winless since that Easter Monday in Cardiff.
We are however unbeaten in five games, with nine points from those five. Preston have just one point from that period, a 2-2 draw at Fulham being followed up by four straight defeats.
If Adam Armstrong scores, it will be goals in consecutive league games for him for the first time since November 2015.
We`re getting better it seems. This is a great chance for that elusive away win. Preston are at the bare bones in defence and even going forward, we are the form team out of the two. 2-0 to Bolton.
We host Reading on Tuesday, before a trip to current leaders Wolves next Saturday. Wolves, top. Eurrrgh.