Marcus Braddock previews the big game
After last week’s friendly against Galatasaray we move on to our second home based friendly of the pre-season programme against Bolton Wanderers from the Championship. Their Championship season started badly, with only three wins in their first ten in the league and defeat in the second round of the League Cup at Crawley. It left them in 16th place which spelled the sack for manager Owen Coyle. Crystal Palace manager Dougie Freedman replaced him as manager but the change in management did not bring an immediate change in results. By the end of January, Bolton were 14th in the league with thoughts of an immediate return to the Premiership fading. However, February signalled a change in results with Bolton beating Hull City 4–1 which signalled a turnaround in form as Bolton went on to win their next five games, taking them up to 8th place. They pretty much kept up the good form and on the last day of the season, Bolton drew 2–2 with Blackpool, while Leicester City won 3–2 against fellow play-off rivals Nottingham Forest, meaning that Bolton finished outside the play-off places, closely losing out on 7th place to Leicester on goal difference.
Bolton have made a few signings so far, one in particular we will recognise, left back and ex-Town player Marc Tierney. The Trotters have also added right midfielder Hayden White from Sheffield Wednesday, Centre back Alex Baptiste from Blackpool, forward Robert Hall from West Ham, forward Conor Wilkinson from Millwall, central midfielder Gary Frazier from Hamilton and have recently finalised a deal for striker Jermain Beckford from Leicester.
11 have left the Reebok stadium, most notably striker Kevin Davies who has dropped to League 1 with Preston North End. Defender Sam Ricketts has also dropped to League 1 with Wolves and of course Alex McQuade who joined us in the first weeks of the close season.
Ones to watch
Last season’s top scorer was Chris Eagles with 12 goals from 40 starts and 3 substitute appearances. He started his career with Manchester United but only played a handful of times whilst at Old Trafford. He spent much of his time on loan with 2 spells with Watford 1 at Sheffield Wednesday and 4 months in Holland with NEC Nijmegen. In July 2008, Eagles signed a permanent contract with Burnley and in 3 seasons he made 144 appearances scoring 25 times. He joined the Trotters in
July 2011 making 88 appearances, scoring 18 times so far.
Goalkeeper for Bolton is 25 year old Bulgarian goalkeeper Adam Bogdan. Born in Budapest, Bogdan first played football for Hungarian teams Vasas and Vecses before signing for Bolton in 2007. He's made 65 appearances for the Whites, including 38 in the Premiership. In Bolton’s last season in the Premiership, Adam was voted the fans player of the year.
Again I have no idea, but I won’t blame that on the friendly status of the game, I often have no idea of which way to call Town results. Actually, often is an overstatement as I never have much of a clue as to the exact score of any game. If I did I would be typing this preview from a rather large mansion before flying in for the game in my helicopter. I imagine we will have a couple of trialists involved this weekend as the boss continues in his considered approach to new signings. But as to how many or what their names will be I know as much as the bumble bee that has just landed on my window sill. I think I'll go for a 2-2 draw because I would like to see a few goals.
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Graham Turner's thoughts ahead of the game
On the Bolton game...
We had a chat about it, we had arranged this pre-season game and, sod's law, we were then paired together in the cup. I was keen to still go ahead with it and they were equally keen to keep this match on so we both agreed there was no problem with playing each other in the cup a few weeks later. I want to see further improvement in the team play and further improvement in the fitness."
On our game against Liverpool last Tuesday...
It was a very good exercise, we went to their academy to play the under 21 development squad, the cream of their youngsters and we did well. It was a good workout in terms of the physical side of things, the shape of the team was quite good and we finished up with a couple of goals. Might have had a few more, the finishing wasn't as good as it should have been, but having said that there is still a fortnight to work on things like that.