Bolton Wanderers v Blackpool - Preview

  • May 03, 2013 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/0b376

The Championship season comes to a close on Saturday, with Bolton playing host to Blackpool.

The regular campaign may come to an end this weekend but victory for Wanderers would almost certainly see them extend their season by at least another two games, as three points should see them enter the play-offs. Should Dougie Freedman's side beat the Seasiders, Nottingham Forest would have to beat Leicester City by four more goals to take the final place.

Should Blackpool take a point from their visit to the Reebok Stadium, either Forest or Leicester would take their place with a win. Defeat for Bolton would see them finish outside the top-six.

Defeat isn't something the Trotters have tasted much in recent months, with Cardiff City the only side to pick up more points on home soil in this season's Championship. Eight home wins in-a-row have helped move Bolton from relegation candidates and into the promotion picture, and they will be looking to extend that run to nine.

A sold-out crowd will be inside the Reebok Stadium, with the majority hoping to be celebrating play-off qualification shortly after 2:30pm.

Bolton have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the game but they will be without Craig Dawson, who has returned to West Bromwich Albion after a successful loan spell. Dawson played 16 consecutive games as Wanderers rocketed up the Championship table, but Zat Knight will have a new defensive partner this weekend.

David Wheater is the favourite to replace Dawson, almost 12 months to the day since his last start. The former Middlesbrough defender injured knee ligaments on the penultimate weekend of last season and has been restricted to just three substitute appearances his term, but he is expected to hold off competition from Matt Mills and Tim Ream to take his place in the team.

Marcos Alonso could play his final game for the club at left-back, while Sam Ricketts should start on the opposite side in front of Adam Bogdan's goal.

Jay Spearing, Keith Andrews and Mark Davies are all missing from the midfield, so Josh Vela could start after impressing in last weekend's 1-1 draw at Cardiff. Stuart Holden is also in contention for a first start since March 2011, having fully recovered from a near-two year spell on the sidelines.

Darren Pratley and Medo Kamara will also be hoping to start, with Chris Eagles and Lee Chung-Yong providing the width.

Marvin Sordell and Craig Davies are the only senior forwards available for Bolton, although Kevin Davies could be brought in for his first appearance since March - in what could be the last game of a 10-year spell at the Reebok Stadium. Tom Eaves could also feature from the bench, after being recalled from a loan spell at Shrewsbury Town last month.

Other than Spearing, Andrews and Mark Davies, Wanderers remain without the services of Tyrone Mears, Joe Riley and David Ngog.

Blackpool will begin the afternoon in 15th place but could finish it in any position between 10th and 20th, such is the tight nature of the Championship.

They could be without captain Alex Baptiste for their trip across Lancashire, as the defender continues to recover from a hamstring strain.

Isaiah Osbourne is available after suspension and there could be a surprise debut for 19-year-old James Caton.

Having progressed through the Wanderers academy, Caton left the club when his contract expired at the end of last season. He has yet to make a senior appearance for the Seasiders, but could do that against his former club on Saturday.

Another man who could face his former side is Chris Basham. Basham made 21 appearances for Bolton, between 2008 and 2010, before completing a £1million move to Bloomfield Road. Now 24, Basham is a regular in the Blackpool side and has played 27 times so far this season.

Bolton Wanderers: from: Bogdan, Lonergan, Lynch, Lainton, Alonso, Mills, Ream, Knight, Ricketts, Wheater, McKee, Bolger, Butterfield, Eagles, Wylde, Hall, Pratley, Holden, Vela, Chung-Yong, Gregus, Blakeman, Lester, Kamara, Woodland, K Davies, Sordell, C Davies, O'Halloran, Eaves, Sampson, Odelusi, Clough

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
20 Southend United 0 0
21 Sunderland 0 0
22 Tranmere Rovers 0 0
23 Wycombe Wanderers 0 0
24 Bolton Wanderers 0 -12
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Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone