Bolton Wanderers v Cardiff City
Saturday 3 November, 2012
Setting The Scene
Saturday’s Championship clash will signal the beginning of Dougie Freedman’s managerial tenure at Bolton Wanderers, but the Scot has been a handed a difficult opening fixture as the Whites welcome table-topping Cardiff City to the Reebok.
Freedman, who was officially announced as the new manager last week, has enjoyed his first week training with the side at Euxton and he hopes to install his ideas onto the players in an attempt to get the Trotters’ season back on track.
But the 38-year-old faces a tricky first match in charge as Malky Mackay’s high-flying Cardiff will travel to the North West full of confidence after winning their last two fixtures.
The Bluebirds have made a habit of reaching the play-offs, doing so in the last three seasons, but they have fallen short on each occasion.
The Welsh side experienced a frustrating 2011/12 season despite enjoying wide success as they missed out on promotion and came agonisingly close to claiming their first silverware in 85 years, losing out on penalties to Liverpool in the League Cup final in February.
Cardiff have undergone a massive transformation off the field, switching their traditional blue shirts for red ones, and a change of colour seems to be bringing a change of fortunes as the side currently sit top of the Championship after 13 games.
Both sets of fans will no doubt harbor hopes of gaining promotion, as Cardiff hope this will be the year they will end their play-off duck and become only the second Welsh team to play in the top flight of English football.
Stuart Holden, David Wheater, Josh Vela and Andy Lonergan all continue to step up their recoveries from respective knee injuries and will miss the game.
Cardiff, meanwhile, have no fresh injury concerns. Tommy Smith and Craig Bellamy remain sidelined with hamstring and ankle complaints whilst Stephen McPhail continues to build up his fitness with games for the Bluebirds’ development squad.
Recent loan acquisition Kerim Frei is once again expected to be named amongst the substitutes after signing from Fulham.
One To Watch - Peter Whittingham
Long-serving Bluebird Peter Whittingham, who enters his fifth season with the Welsh club, has made a superb start to the new campaign.
He has appeared in all 13 league games, scoring seven goals, including a hat-trick against Wolves and a goal against Leeds United on his 350th appearance for the club.
The 28-year-old has also set-up three goals for his team-mates as the former Aston Villa man has been directly involved in ten of the team’s 26 goals this season.
Man In The Middle – Tony Bates
|Bolton Wins||Draws||Cardiff Wins|
Staffordshire-based official Tony Bates will take charge of Saturday’s game. He has so far shown 25 yellow and one red card in eight games this season.
The 49-year-old awarded a season high six yellow cards at Leeds’ clash with Wolves at the beginning of the season, and his solitary red was awarded in his last outing at St Andrews as he set off Birmingham City’s Jonathan Spector against Leicester last month.
Supporters should be aware that the club’s FanZone facility will not be in operation ahead of the game.