IN OPPOSITION: BOLTON WANDERERS
Bolton Wanderers’ unfortunate fall from grace continued this season with relegation from The Championship. A club who a decade ago finished eighth in the Premier League and reached the Round of 32 in the UEFA Cup under the stewardship of Sam Allardyce, The Trotters now face life in the third tier for the first time in 23 years.
Wanderers only missed out on the play-offs in their first season back in the Championship (2012-13) on goal difference to the current Premier League Champions Leicester City; that just goes to show the game is all about fine margins, when you now look at the fortunes of the two respective clubs.
With the managerial role currently vacant at The Macron Stadium, the chance is there to bring the good times back to Bolton Wanderers Football Club. Comic duo Peter Kay and Paddy McGuinness may well be well-known supporters of the club but the Trotters fans will see relegation as no laughing matter; with a summer re-group, the club could be fancied to have a promotion charge this coming season.
At The Helm: N/A
Bolton began the 2015-16 with former Celtic boss Neil Lennon in charge, but when he was sacked in March 2016, Jimmy Phillips was given the managerial vacancy on an interim basis. The 50 year old Bolton born, former Wanderers defender couldn’t save the club from what looked for a long time, an inevitable relegation into League One. The managerial role is once again vacant following the close of the season and the list of names linked with the job has been formed.
Brian McDermott is the odds on favourite with skybet.com at 6/4 following his departure from Championship club Reading. Following him, Phil Brown of Southend United and former Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins are priced at 8/1. It should be an interesting summer over at The Macron Stadium.
21 year old hotshot Zach Clough would be a key man for Bolton Wanderers next season but whether or not he remains at the club remains to be seen, with reported interest from the Premier League and the Championship. He only made his professional debut in January 2015 and scored 6 times in 10 appearances towards the back end of the 2014-15 season.
Last season, Clough managed seven goals on all competitions and he’d certainly be one for the division to look out for next season. Gary Madine isn’t unfamiliar with this level, with his most recent spell in League One being a loan spell with Coventry City during the 2014-15 season; he managed 6 goals in all competitions last season.
Wanderers have a whole host of talented young players who could be more than capable of succeeding in League One. The likes of Max Clayton, Joshua Vela, Thomas Walker and Kaiyne Woolery may be assessed in pre-season. Experienced names such as Darren Pratley, Jay Spearing and Mark Davies are still under contact with the League One new-boys and could be in line to feature this coming season.
Head to Head:
The League head to head is edged by City, with our 14 wins superior to Bolton’s 12 and the 13 draws conjured up between the two teams. The overall head to head though goes to Bolton, due to their record against The Bantams in cup competitions.
Overall, the record, since the first meeting between the two sides in November 1903; Bradford have 14 wins, there has been 14 draws and Bolton have 16 wins to their name. The most recent competitive meetings between the two sides were during the 1998/99 season. The first meeting during the season was at Valley Parade and it finished in a 2-2 draw. Isaiah Rankin and Lee Mills were on the scoresheet for City, whilst Icelandic forward Arnar Gunnlaugsson and Nathan Blake found the net for the visitors in front of a crowd of 13,163.
The reverse fixture on Boxing Day 1998 finished goalless in front of a near sell-out crowd of 24,625. Wanderers’ starting line-ups for both of these games included former City trialist Jussi Jaaskelainen. City are winless in their last five meetings with The Trotters, with their last success against them coming in a 2-1 home win back in April 1993.
Their own patch:
The Macron Stadium (formerly Reebok Stadium)
The Macron Stadium will be one of the most impressive football stadiums at this level next season. It has a very unique design and the exterior of the ground is unmistakeable to passers-by. With an impressive capacity of over 28,000, the home of Bolton Wanderers is one that I’m sure many City supporters will be heading to during the upcoming 2016-17 season.
Bradford City have only ever played at the ground once and it will be one many Bantams fans will be looking to tick off their list. A host for Premier League matches for many years, the stadium’s attendance record for a football match is 28,353 (vs Leicester City, December 2003). The stadium has played host to Rugby matches and even concerts, where the capacity can increase to 40,000.
Postcode: BL6 6JW
Fancy a flutter?
Bolton Wanderers are backed at 4/1 to earn promotion and an immediate return to The Championship; if you fancy The Trotters to win the League One title, you can get odds of 12/1 with Sky Bet.