BWFC April/May Preview: Fading Into Obscurity

  • April 03, 2014 | By Sean McNeilly
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/7742a

Seven games remain in this season's Championship, so we take a final look at what is still to come for Bolton this term.

Well that was a much better month of football wasn't it?

That was a month of football I really enjoyed. Played 7, won 3, drew 3 and lost just the one. The rejuvenated Zat Knight and the goals of Lukas Jutkiewicz have been the highlights, but that doesn't undermine anyone who has been involved.

Now lying 10 points above the relegation zone, we aren't completely safe mathematically. But with the fixtures that finish off this season, I'm confident we can count ourselves as a Championship outfit for another year.

April begins with a trip to Huddersfield Town on Saturday and is followed on by another trip, on Tuesday night, to Doncaster Rovers. The first home match of the month sees Barnsley visit the Reebok Stadium, on the 12th. A Good Friday trip to Charlton Athletic is followed by a home match against likely champions Leicester City. A trip to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday rounds April off, before the final game of the season takes place on the May 3rd, at home to Birmingham City.

First up, then, is a trip to the John Smith's Stadium to face Huddersfield. The Terriers will be happy enough with their season, to date. Currently occupying 16th, another season in England's second-tier is just about secured. This would have certainly been the primary aim for Mark Robbins back in August. Adam Hamill and James Vaughan were both signed in the summer, after successful loan spells in 2012/13, and Robbins' faith has been repaid so far, as both have been outstanding performers. Former Wanderer Danny Ward has now clocked up over 100 appearances for the Yorkshire club and he will be certainly aiming to get one over his former employers. Only one point separates ourselves and Huddersfield at present, so a tough match will be expected, but a win is not an unrealistic target.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
16 Huddersfield Town 39 12 10 17 50 54 46 -4
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 10 15 14 50 55 45 -5

One to Watch: James Vaughan
Last Season: Huddersfield Town 2-2 Bolton Wanderers (Knight (og), Vaughan; M Davies, Eagles)

 

Four wins out of the last six has seen Doncaster climb out of the bottom three and they find themselves eight points clear of those dreaded relegation places. Like their Yorkshire neighbours, staying up would have been priority number one at the beginning of the season and it looks like Paul Dickov has just about done enough. Dickov has a lot to thank Chris Brown for. No, not that Chris Brown. No one has anything to thank him for. The Chris Brown that Paul Dickov will be toasting come the end of the season is the top scorer for Doncaster, with eight league goals so far. Another team close to the Whites in the table, this is another match I'm happy enough to admit feeling confident in getting three points from.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 10 15 14 50 55 45 -5
18 Doncaster Rovers 39 11 10 18 35 57 43 -22

One to Watch: Chris Brown

 

Barnsley visit the Reebok on the 12th and will be desperate for points. At the time of writing, the Tykes find themselves three points from safety. They have, however, picked up two away wins at Reading and, vitally, Yeovil Town in their last two, which has given Danny Wilson and his troops real hope. But wins are still a must and you can guarantee Barnsley will be looking for goals in this match. Despite the table, Barnsley are boosted by striker Chris O'Grady, who has snapped up 13 league goals this season. There is Premier League experience hanging around Wilson's squad, with the likes of Peter Ramage and Liam Lawrence, but have they got enough to stay up? I don't think they do and I think three home points has to be taken by the Wanderers in front of home support.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 10 15 14 50 55 45 -5
22 Barnsley 38 8 11 19 38 65 35 -27

One to Watch: Chris O'Grady
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Barnsley (K Davies; Davies)

 

Bolton travel to The Valley to face Charlton in a 3pm Good Friday kick off. Charlton are not safe yet, despite winning three of the last five. The recent change of manager has caused some controversy, as well as the rumours that the Addicks are being touted as a feeder club for Standard Liege. Not nice. Jose Riga has had to do his talking on the pitch and so far it's not altogether bad. A recent home victory against Queens Park Rangers gave fans serious hope of another season in the Championship. The stand out player for me is their captain, Johnnie Jackson. Previously linked with a move to the Reebok, Jackson wears the armband with pride and that echoes in most performances. One to watch, indeed. On loan Wanderer Marvin Sordell will, of course, not face his parent club. If I had my way, he will be back in Dougie's thoughts next season.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 10 15 14 50 55 45 -5
21 Charlton Athletic 37 9 11 17 27 47 38 -20

One to Watch: Johnnie Jackson
Last Season: Charlton Athletic 3-2 Bolton Wanderers (Jackson, Dervite, Kermorgant (pen); Sordell, Kamara)

 

The likely champions come to the Reebok on the 22nd for a match under the lights. Leicester have all but confirmed their return to the top flight and, after defeating nearest rivals Burnley, the title. No one can argue with the Foxes promotion this season. Consistently the strongest team in the league and boasting Premier League talent throughout their starting XI and bench. Kasper Schmeichel gets better with every season that passes, Wes Morgan is a constant rock in defence, Lloyd Dyer is dangerous every time he touches the ball, while David Nugent scores goals for fun. Just a few of the talents that Nigel Pearson has at his disposal. Dougie, however, may fancy his chances here. Leicester should have the title wrapped up by this point and may have taken their eye off the ball. Whether or not this is the case, it won't be an easy evening at the Reebok.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
1 Leicester City 39 26 8 5 74 37 86 37
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 10 15 14 50 55 45 -5

One to Watch: Lloyd Dyer
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 0-0 Leicester City

 

The final away day of the season will see the Whites travel to Sheffield, to face Wednesday. The Owls seemed destined to be one of the teams scrapping it out at the bottom during squeaky bum time, but they have pulled themselves out of trouble and sit comfortably enough in 14th. Manager Stuart Gray was brought to Hillsbrough by previous manager Dave Jones, but took Jones' job this season. He has brought stability and an attacking ethic that has seen Wednesday retain their Championship status. Two players who wore the white of Bolton are in the current Wednesday squad, but neither Benik Afobe or Jermaine Johnson are lighting up Hillbrough this season. Their top scorer, Conor Wickham, is long gone, but Leon Best is starting to show some of his potential in front of goal. A tough final trip of the season for the Whites, but again, no reason why we can't get something here.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
14 Sheffield Wednesday 39 12 12 15 48 47 48 1
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 10 15 14 50 55 45 -5

One to Watch: Leon Best
Last Season: Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Bolton Wanderers (Barkley (pen); Alonso, M Davies)

 

The 2013/14 season finishes with a home match against Lee Clark's Birmingham City. The Blues have had a horrible second half of the season and find themselves in serious danger of going into this match needing points to stay up. At this moment, Birmingham are only five points clear of Barnsley, and the Tykes have a game in hand. City will be looking to the likes of Federico Macheda and Chris Burke to inspire some confidence into a squad that is lacking in quality. It would be a shame to see ex-White Paul Robinson, who wears the captains armband for City, go down, but it is a distinct possibility. While we may not have much to play for by the time this match rolls around, you can be sure that Dougie will have the lads up for the send off after a difficult season, so Birmingham will have to be in top form to get anything from the Reebok.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 10 15 14 50 55 45 -5
20 Birmingham City 39 10 10 19 49 59 40 -10

One to Watch: Chris Burke
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 3-1 Birmingham City (Alonso, Chung-Yong, Andrews (pen); Zigic)

 

And that's it. The season is over. A positive spin would say it's been a transition; A negative look would say it's been poor. I am a glass half full kind of guy (unless its Guinness, then it's a full glass) and have started to think Dougie could be on to something long-term. With the above fixtures, we have the chance to finish the season on a high and give us a summer to relax and watch England get knocked out of the second round of the World Cup on penalties, before starting over again in August. And who knows what a new season will bring?

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 >>

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