Leicester City v Bolton Wanderers - Preview

  • December 28, 2013 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/3534f

Bolton bring down the curtain on 2013 with possibly the toughest fixture possible - an away game at Championship leaders Leicester City.

The season reaches the halfway stage on Sunday, when all 24 teams in England's second-tier play their 23rd game of the campaign. Victory for the Foxes would keep them top of the pile heading into the New Year, although results elsewhere mean a draw could also be enough.

After beating Barnsley on Boxing Day, Bolton go into the game in 17th position and could move as high as 12th with a surprise win at the King Power Stadium. Dougie Freedman's side are eight points off the play-off positions, but are the same number above the bottom three.

Wanderers boss Dougie Freedman will be without the services of Kevin McNaughton and Neil Danns for the trip to the East Midlands, after their respective loan deals came to an end after the win at Oakwell.

McNaughton has returned to the circus that is currently known as Cardiff City, while Danns could potentially line-up against the Trotters after resuming training with Leicester on Friday.

Zat Knight, Darren Pratley and Mark Davies took the places of Matt Mills, Lee Chung-Yong and Andre Moritz last time out, so all six players will be hoping to start - especially Mills, as he faces the prospect of facing his former club. Davies is also a former Foxes player, having enjoyed a loan spell with them in the 2008/09 campaign.

Another former Leicester player hoping to play a part on Sunday is Jermaine Beckford. Wanderers' leading goalscorer played 49 times for Nigel Pearson's side, between August 2011 and July 2013, scoring 15 times prior to his summer move to the Reebok Stadium.

With McNaughton back at Cardiff, Alex Baptiste is expected to revert to right-back. That opens up the door for somebody to step in at left-back, with Tim Ream the favourite to do so. The United States international has played alongside Mills at the heart of the defence for a large part of the season, but may have to adjust until a new full-back is signed in January. If that proves to be the case, Knight should start for the second match in succession.

As well as the aforementioned absentees of McNaughton and Danns, Bolton will be without Stuart Holden, Joe Riley, Adam Bogdan and Marc Tierney.

Pratley, Mills, Chung-Yong and Jay Spearing are all one yellow card away from suspension, which would keep them out of the New Year's Day fixture with Middlesbrough.

Leicester will be without Chris Wood, Tom Hopper and Sean St. Ledger for the visit of the Trotters, as they continue to struggle with hamstring, shin and groin injuries, respectively.

Pearson's side beat fellow promotion hopefuls Reading on Boxing Day and could name an unchanged team, although Dean Hammond, Andy King, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Ignasi Miquel, Marcin Wasilewski, Martyn Waghorn and Jeffrey Schlupp are all available.

Danns, who hasn't featured in league action for the Foxes since August 2012, could make a surprise return against the club he left less than 48 hours earlier.

Bolton Wanderers: from: Lonergan, Lee-Barrett, Mears, Mills, Ream, Knight, Baptiste, Wheater, White, Bolger, Threlkeld, Spearing, Eagles, Hall, Moritz, M Davies, Pratley, Vela, Chung-Yong, Gregus, Lester, Woodland, Kellett, Kamara, Ngog, Beckford, Mason, C Davies, O'Halloran, Wilkinson, Odelusi, Clough, Youngs

Referee: Mick Russell
Venue: King Power Stadium
Kick-Off: 15:00

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 32 33
20 AFC Wimbledon 33 31
21 Tranmere Rovers 32 26
22 Southend United 33 16
23 Bolton Wanderers 31 11
View Full Standings >>

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