The Month Ahead: BWFC - August Preview

  • July 31, 2013 | By Sean McNeilly
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With the Championship season just days away, Sean McNeilly previews a difficult opening month for Bolton Wanderers.

This post reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Burnden Aces as a publication.

This season we'll be taking a look at Bolton's upcoming opponents each month. As the Whites prepare to start their Championship campaign at Turf Moor on Saturday, we start by taking a closer look at the teams that they will face in the league in August.

It's certainly not an easy start for the Trotters. August consists of five league matches, which include two of the three relegated teams visiting the Reebok and two local derbies; starting with the lunchtime kick-off against Burnley on Saturday. Seven days later Bolton host a Championship match for the first time this season against newly relegated Reading. A trip to Nottingham Forest the weekend after is followed by a second lunchtime kick-off, this time at home to QPR. August will come to a close with an encounter that is always eagerly anticipated, a trip to Ewood Park.

First up then is Burnley, who, it goes without saying, have some recent history with the Wanderers. Burnley's summer has mainly focused on keeping their goalscoring machine, Charlie Austin. Austin's 28 goals last term attracted interest from Premier League suitors, but a failed medical meant a move to Hull City fell through and it now looks like he will be staying at Burnley. No marquee signings have been made, though Ryan Noble and Tom Heaton could prove good business. Their home form last season was a little hit and miss, though no one reading this will forget the opening match of last season too quickly. If we are honest, this appears to be a great chance to get three points. The Clarets look, to me, to be a club in decline.

Reading will visit the Reebok Stadium in their first away trip since suffering relegation. It's likely the Royals will have a new look to them under Nigel Adkins. A good number of recognisable faces have departed; with the likes of Ian Harte, Jay Tabb, Noel Hunt and Simon Church all leaving the Madjeski. Nevertheless, the captures of Wayne Bridge, Danny Williams and Royston Drenthe signal real intent and show Adkins is not thinking about staying in this division for too long. Reading are up there, along with Bolton, as one of the bookies' favourites for promotion, and rightly so. An easy Reebok opener will not be on the cards.

A trip to Nottingham, to face Forest, will pit two teams who were feeling just as bad as each other on the final day of last season, as they were both pipped to the final play-off position by Leicester City. Forest were the top ten's second lowest goalscorers last campaign, forcing Billy Davies' hand into his pockets and the summer purchase of Jamie Mackie could help the Reds build on last seasons finish. An unbeaten pre-season has certainly given fans hope of a successful season.

Harry Redknapp brings his charges to the Reebok on August 24. QPR will certainly be regarded by many as promotion contenders, due to the names in their squad. Although with the names in their squad last season, nobody would have predicted a 20th place finish at Loftus Road. While only a few players have been brought in, Bobby Zamora, Karl Henry and Richard Dunne provide an experienced spine and there is likely to be some real talent on the pitch for the R's. If Bolton can pick up three points in this match it would send a message to the rest of the league that they mean business.

The opening month is rounded off against rivals Blackburn. Like Burnley, Blackburn will be most pleased about not losing their goal-machine. Jordan Rhodes, linked briefly with the Whites, notched 27 league goals last season and looks set to lead the line with DJ Campbell this season. Venky's have opened their chick, sorry, cheque books for a few more summer signings to improve on their poor performances last season, with Campbell being joined by the likes of Chelsea's Todd Kane and former Sunderland defender Matt Kilgallon. Despite their poor league position, Blackburn had a reasonable home record in 2012/13. That didn't stop the Whites recording a 2-1 victory at Ewood Park last November, a place that Bolton have had a few good memories in recent years; will the end of August bring another one? I won't be betting against it.

Looking at the opening five fixtures, I think a nine-point haul would represent a solid start to the new campaign. How many points do you think Wanderers will get in August?

Football betting site Betway

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
View Full Standings >>


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