Friday, 29 March 2013

Trotters in town

Bolton Wanderers are sometimes referred to as the Trotters and sometimes by the much blander term the 'Whites'. For me, the 'Trotters' always evokes the heritage of the club. Anyway, this Bolton fan uses the term in his match preview in which he points out that a win for Wanderers tomorrow will put them two points off a play off place: Trotters

At the beginning of the season I named Bolton as one of my promotion picks. Yet seven weeks ago Bolton had lost four games in seven and were just one place and three points above the relegation zone. Their resurgence since then shows how quickly a team can move upwards or downwards in this tightly packed league.

Palace's Dougie Freedman replaced Owen Coyle as manager last September. Freedman told The Football League Paper, 'I'm very proud of what I did at Palace. I got hold of a club in the bottom three and left them in the top three. And I made the club a lot of money. But, professionally, it was the right decision to come here.' There is certainly a big contrast between operating from a supermarket car park and the Reebok.

Freedman reckons that the team bore pyschological scars as a result of the fortunately not tragic Fabrice Muamba incident, and being relegated on the final day by a late goal at Stoke. He said, 'Remember this is a club that hasn't won regularly for near enough four years. Quite simply, there was no winning mentality. I inherited a lot of very good players who just need a bit of direction in life. For me, it was about changing the culture and convincing them that they're good enough.'

For Charlton Mark Gower will be available tomorrow to add his experience to a midfield that often loses its shape. Leon Cort will face a late fitness test. New loan signings Robert Hall and Danny Butterfield are set to make their debuts for Bolton. For Bolton right back Tyrone Mears (blood infection) remains sidelined along with Republic of Ireland international Keith Andrews (Achilles).

Charlton have won only once against Bolton in six home matches in the last decade. In the first half against Millwall we did play some nice football, in particular passing accurately to Charlton players, but it had no end result. It is difficult to see how we can avoid defeat tomorrow, even though Bolton did lose against Ipswich last time out.

Rescue cat Reg has done his best to stop this story being written as he demands that veteran Hiss of the Match analyst Juneau the Soccer Cat is dropped for a younger male cat. In the hope of bringing us some luck, he will provide the Hiss of the Match tomorrow. The Association of Canine Match Analysts has also announced the imminent arrival of two lucky labradors who will start training as match analysts: Henry from Chilton, Oxon and Mustang from Compton, Berks.

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