Bolton Wanderers v Birmingham City - Preview

  • December 28, 2012 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/8122d

Bolton will look to end a miserable year on a high when they host Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon.

In a year which saw Wanderers lose their status in the top-flight, the Boxing Day defeat to Sheffield Wednesday came as no surprise to supporters - who have seen their club fall from grace at such an alarming rate throughout the last 12 months.

Defeat against the Owls was the first time they have suffered back-to-back losses under the management of Dougie Freedman and they will be looking to bounce back and give themselves a platform to build on, going into 2013.

Wanderers captain Kevin Davies missed the game against Wednesday through suspension, but could return to the side against Birmingham. David Ngog and Benik Afobe were chosen to start last time out and one, if not both, could be dropped to the bench.

Marvin Sordell impressed as a substitute in that game and is pushing for a rare start, but he is also likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.

Marcos Alonso replaced an injured Sam Ricketts on Boxing Day, but the Wales international is expected to shrug off the minor complaint to retain his place at left-back, with a defence also consisting of Zat Knight, Tim Ream and Tyrone Mears.

Lee Chung-Yong could start in the place of a rested Chris Eagles, while Martin Petrov looks set to keep his place ahead of the on-loan Jacob Butterfield.

Wanderers remain without the long-term injury absentees of Stuart Holden, David Wheater, Josh Vela, Mark Davies and Matt Mills.

Birmingham could be boosted by the return of Jonathan Spector, who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury.

Will Packwood missed the Boxing Day victory at Barnsley through illness and will be handed a late fitness test ahead of the game at the Reebok Stadium.

With the threat of administration looming over their heads, Blues boss Lee Clark is expected to keep faith in the younger players that have featured in recent weeks, along with the experience of Nikola Zigic, Curtis Davies and former Wanderers defender Paul Robinson.

Jack Butland has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool in recent days, but the England under-21 international is should start at the Reebok.

Birmingham remain without the services of the experienced Marlon King, Peter Lovenkrands, Akwasi Asante, Papa Bouba Diop, Darren Ambrose, Paul Caddis, David Murphy and Stephen Carr, who are all injured.

Bolton Wanderers: from: Bogdan, Lonergan, Lainton, Lynch, Mears, Alonso, Mills, Ream, Knight, Ricketts, Riley, McKee, McQuade, Eagles, Andrews, Petrov, Spearing, Pratley, Chung-Yong, Butterfield, Blakeman, Ngog, K Davies, Afobe, Sordell, Sampson, Odelusi

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
11 Ipswich Town 20 27
12 Cheltenham Town 19 27
13 Bolton Wanderers 20 26
14 Accrington Stanley 19 24
15 Charlton Athletic 20 23
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