BWFC January Preview: 'I Feel Good' About 2015

  • January 02, 2015 | By Sean McNeilly
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/ce8d8

With 2014 consigned to the history books, Sean McNeilly looks at what's ahead for Bolton Wanderers in the opening month of 2015.

Happy New Year, Wanderers fans! Is anyone else feeling good about 2015? If not, I think you should be.

For starters, there is an FA Cup tie against rivals Wigan Athletic at the Macron to whet your appetite. Got you intrigued? Well, following that are four kind looking matches to get the New Year off to a bang. Leeds United come to town on January 10, followed by trips to Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United in the Saturday's that follow. The month is rounded off on the 31st, with Wolverhampton Wanderers visiting us.

The first month of 2015 also has something no month has previously had this season - all matches will take place on a Saturday, with a 3pm kick-off. This doesn't take into account the possibility of an FA Cup 4th round tie, during the weekend the Whites are due to travel to Rotherham.

So it's a big one for the Whites' first foray into the FA Cup this season - Wigan at home. Malky Mackay would have been delighted to prove his managerial talents again after an unceremonious exit from Cardiff. But things have proven to be difficult. One win in 10 is the type of form that will find you in a relegation scrap, and that's where Wigan find themselves currently. Teams that are in poor form, however, can't be taken with complacency in the cup. The 2013 winners will appreciate taking their eyes away from the league table for at least one afternoon, so could prove to be at the most dangerous. Especially considering the likes of James McClean and James Perch on their teamsheet. But one player who tops them all has to be Callum McManaman. This goalscoring midfielder will likely not be playing in the Championship for too much longer you'd have to think, as bigger and better riches await. As for our chances, well we did give them a beating not too long ago at the Macron, so there's no reason to not be confident.

One To Watch: James McClean

 

Leeds are our first Championship opponents of the new year, and Neil Lennon will be licking his lips at that prospect. United are only one point above the relegation zone and have not won away from Elland Road since September. Leeds have been on a bit of a rollercoaster for a while now and owner Massimo Cellino has recently put Neil Redfearn in charge of the almost impossible job of satisfying fans that expect more. There is some quality within the ranks though, including top 'scorer Mirco Antenucci, ex-Trotter Stephen Warnock, who is having a fantastic season, midfield stalwart Rodolph Austin and defensive sensation Sam Byram - all of whom would fit in most top Championship sides. Though, with the Wanderers on such a superb run of home form and Leeds so poor away, I'd be feeling confident of three points.

One To Watch: Sam Byram
Last Season: Bolton Wanderers 0-1 Leeds United (Varney)

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
15 Bolton Wanderers 24 8 5 11 26 31 29 -5
20 Leeds United 24 6 6 12 25 36 24 -11

 

Sheffield Wednesday are having a great season under the stewardship of Stuart Gray and find themselves only four places from the all important play-off places. Wednesday's efforts have been built on a tight defence, which the second best backline in the league - having conceded only 21 goals in their 24 games so far. Bolton will have to breach a back-four consisting of in-form defenders Tom Lees, Glenn Loovens and 'keeper Keiran Westwood. Goalscoring has been tougher, though, but top 'scorer Stevie May has certainly helped out in that department. He is turning out to be a superb purchase. This match represents Wanderers' toughest match of the month, in my opinion, and taking anything home from the Steel City will be seen as a positive.

One To Watch: Stevie May
Last Season: Sheffield Wednesday 1-3 Bolton Wanderers (Mattock; Danns, Chung-Yong, Trotter)

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
10 Sheffield Wednesday 24 8 10 6 18 21 34 -3
15 Bolton Wanderers 24 8 5 11 26 31 29 -5

 

When Rotherham were promoted, they were instantly installed as one of the favourites to go straight back down. Steve Evans hasn't exactly sealed their place in the Championship next season, but the Millers' faithful will be pleased at the way they have performed and even more pleased that they have a bit of breathing space between themselves and the bottom-three. Goals have been coming from the whole squad, with no fewer than 12 players finding the net so far. Alex Revell is the top goalscorer, with four at the time of writing, but it's his all-round play rather than goalscoring ability that is standing out so far. United's home form has been poor this season, with just three wins from 12, so Lennon's troops will fancy their chances.

One To Watch: Alex Revell

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
15 Bolton Wanderers 24 8 5 11 26 31 29 -5
19 Rotherham United 24 5 11 8 21 30 26 -9

 

The final match of the month sees Wolverhampton Wanderers visit Macron Stadium. Wolves have had a mixed season so far; coming out of the blocks like lightning, slipping away in November, then finding their form again. At the time of writing, Kenny Jackett and his team are two places outside of the play-offs and will fancy their chances of being there come May. Wolves' performances have been largely down to Mali internationals Bakary Sako and Nouha Dicko, scoring 12 goals between them so far, while captain and former Wanderer Sam Ricketts will have his boys up for taking the spoils at his previous stomping ground. It's a tough one to call this because Wolves have undoubted talent and will be pushing hard for points needed if they are going to be in the promotion mix, but our home form has recently been superb so we are definitely in for a tough game.

One To Watch: Bakary Sako

Pos Team Pld W D L F A Pts GD
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 24 10 7 7 28 33 37 -5
15 Bolton Wanderers 24 8 5 11 26 31 29 -5

 

So that's January for you. A big month for Lennon to bring in more talent if we have any serious ambition of a late play-off push. Here's to hoping for some wins this month and a successful 2015 for the Whites.

Football betting site Betway

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 AFC Wimbledon 18 16
20 Tranmere Rovers 17 16
21 Milton Keynes Dons 18 13
22 Southend United 19 6
23 Bolton Wanderers 15 1
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