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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, February 2nd 2018

Big Match Preview: Bolton Wanderers away

City are back to winning ways after seeing off QPR last week.

Next up is a trip to the Macron Stadium, where league strugglers Bolton Wanderers await Lee Johnson's side.

While Bolton have racked up just a handful of wins this season, the majority of those have come in front of their home support meaning the long trip north may not be an easy one for the Robins.

The Friday night clash, which will be screened live on Sky, presents an opportunity for City to keep pace with their promotion-chasing rivals, while the Trotters will be keen to move out of the bottom three.

FACTFILE

Formed 1874
Nickname Trotters, Wanderers
Website www.bwfc.co.uk
Twitter @OfficialBWFC
Ground Marcon Stadium
Capacity 28,723

Honours
Second Division
1908/09, 1977/78, 1996/97
Third Division 1972/73
FA Cup 1923, 1926, 1929, 1958
Football League Cup 1995, 2004
Football League Trophy 1989
Charity Shield 1958

Last season
League finish 2nd in League One
FA Cup Third round, lost to Crystal Palace
EFL Cup First round, lost to Blackpool
Checkatrade Trophy Group stage
Top Scorer Josh Vela & Gary Madine, 10 goals
Average attendance 14,934

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

It is 13 years since Bolton recorded their highest ranking in English football - 6th in the Premier League to secure their spot in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Cup for the first time in their history.

In fact, between 2003/04 and 2006/07, only Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal had a better level of consistency in the top division, as the Trotters finished in the top eight in four successive campaigns.

The departure of Sam Allardyce and a cash crisis which threatened to cripple the club saw them slide down the table and, eventually, drop out of the Premier League in 2012.

Fast forward to the modern era and Bolton – with money troubles seemingly behind them now – have made an immediate return to the Sky Bet Championship after one season in the third tier.

The step up has been a painful one, however, with the Greater Manchester club failing to win in their opening 12 games of the 2017/18 campaign.

They have won only six games in the league in fact, with five of those being recorded in front of their home fans.

As a result of their few victories, Bolton have flaunted with the relegation zone and currently sit 22nd in the Sky Bet Championship, level on points (26) with 21st-placed Hull.

WATCH: SMITH AND JOHNSON DISCUSS BOLTON WANDERERS AWAY

THE KEY FIGURES

Phil Parkinson helped bolton return to the second tier at the first time of asking

MEET THE GAFFER – PHIL PARKINSON

Parkinson is an experienced manager who helped Bolton bounce back to the Championship at the first time of asking last season.

He started out in management at Colchester United, taking the U’s to an unlikely promotion to the Championship.

Parkinson spent a brief time with Hull City before moving to Charlton Athletic, initially as assistant boss before taking the top job from Alan Pardew.

At his next club, Bradford City, Parkinson enjoyed his second managerial promotion and a trip to Wembley in the League Cup final. He also famously guided the Bantams to a shock 4-2 FA Cup win at Chelsea in 2015. He moved to Bolton in June 2016.

Ameobi challenges Eliasson in the reverse fixture at Ashton Gate

STAR MAN – SAMMY AMEOBI

Winger Ameobi will be among those called upon to fill the goalscoring gap left behind by Gary Madine, following his January deadline day move to Cardiff City.

Ameobi, 25, is one of the Trotters' creative sparks, with three goals and an assist to his name in the first half of the 2017/18 campaign.

Able to play on either the left or the right, Ameobi crafted his game at Newcastle before a brief loan spell with Teeside rivals Middlesbrough.

More loan spells followed as he made 39 appearances for Cardiff City - 28 of those as a substitute - before helping Bolton return to the Championship from League One last season. He signed permanently for the Wanderers last summer.

Flint all smiles after grabbing the second goal against Bolton at the Gate

BACK AT THE GATE

BRISTOL CITY 2-0 BOLTON WANDERERS

Goals: Diédhiou 39, Flint 77.

Goals from Famara Diédhiou and Aden Flint piled more misery on ten-man Bolton Wanderers, inflicting a hard-fought 2-0 victory at Ashton Gate back in September.

The visitors were doing fine up until the moment they fell behind to Diédhiou’s 39th-minute scrambled opener.

Felipe Morais’ dismissal before the break then turned the hill they had to climb into a mountain.

City pressed and pressed for a second to seal victory and it duly arrived 13 minutes from the end as Flint deflected in Marlon Pack’s driven attempt.

The result extended City's unbeaten run in all competitions to double figures, while winless Bolton remained rooted to the foot of the table.

City: Fielding, Wright, Flint, Baker, Bryan, O'Dowda, Smith, Pack, Paterson, Reid, Diédhiou. Subs not used: Steele, Magnusson, Eliasson, Brownhill, Taylor, Leko, Woodrow.

Bolton: Howard, Taylor, Wheater, Little, Beavers, King, Henry, Pratley, Morais, Noone, Madine. Subs not used: Taylor, Le Fondre, Ameobi, Burke, Robinson, Cullen, Wilbraham.

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Andrew Madley
James Wilson and Robert Merchant
Fourth Official: Jeremy Simpson

Betting (via SkyBet) - as of 11am, Friday February 2nd.
Bolton 11/4
Draw 12/5
City 11/10