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20 February 2018 Venue Macron Stadium Attendance

Kick off 20:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

Preview: Five talking points ahead of Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland

20 February 2018

Wanderers return to home comforts on Tuesday night as they welcome relegation-rivals Sunderland to Macron Stadium.

Looking to maintain their recent home form after two matches on the road last week, bwfc.co.uk highlights five talking points ahead the Whites’ clash with the Black Cats.

1. Home form

Phil Parkinson’s men have put together a great run of results at Macron Stadium in recent months, suffering just one home league defeat since September.

From Wanderers’ 30 points this campaign, 22 have come at home with recent results in front of their home fans starting their charge out of the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom three.

Unbeaten at home in the league since December 16, the Whites will be keen to extend that run with victory over a relegation rival as they look to make home advantage prove decisive again in such a big game.

2. Six-pointer

And what a big game it is. After results at the weekend, just six points separate 18th and bottom in the Championship table, with tonight’s opponents Sunderland level on points with basement club Burton Albion.

The visitors come into Tuesday's game on the back of a 2-0 home defeat against Brentford on Saturday, a result that extended their winless run to four games.

Bolton currently have a two-point buffer over the relegation zone and a four-point advantage over the Black Cats.

A win tonight would put some real daylight between the two clubs and could move Wanderers as high as 18th – five points clear of the drop.

Away from Macron Stadium tonight, Barnsley host Burton Albion meaning the night’s fixtures could have huge implications in the Championship relegation battle.

3. Enforced Changes

After losing Josh Vela to injury at the weekend, and with Mark Little serving the first game of his three-match ban, Parkinson has no choice but to shuffle the pack for the visit of Sunderland.

Jem Karacan replaced Vela at the weekend, making his first appearance since September and the former vice-captain is expected to be awarded a starting berth.

The midfielder is not short of experience having made over 200 club appearances throughout his career and that could be crucial for Wanderers in such a huge game, where composure and a cool-head could make all the difference.

Little’s replacement appears less clear, with formation likely to determine who comes in to the side.

If Parkinson sticks with the back five he has favoured in recent weeks then Filipe Morais is the probable starter at right wingback. But after two away trips reaping no reward, the manager could revert to a back four in the hunt for a valuable three points.

Parkinson is not short of options at right back with Morais, Stephen Darby, Reece Burke and January loan signing Jon Flanagan all in contention.

4. North East Whites

When Sunderland make the trip down the A1 to Macron Stadium, they will be following the footsteps of several Whites players who have done so previously.

Midfielder Will Buckley was a Sunderland player until the summer, having joined them in 2014. After spending the last two of his three years there out on loan, he will be keen to make an impression against his former club, if he can prove his fitness.

Goalkeeper Ben Alnwick also spent time with Sunderland earlier in his career, making 24 appearances during his spell at the Stadium of Light. Now Wanderers’ first-choice between the sticks, the shotstopper will have the chance to showcase his talent against his former employer.

David Wheater, Andrew Taylor and Sammy Ameobi have also spent time in the North East, at Sunderland’s two rivals, Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

Taylor and Wheater both came through the ranks on Teeside, with the latter earning the captaincy during his spell, where he amassed over 150 appearances.

Boyhood Newcastle fan Ameobi came all the way through the ranks at St James’ Park. His older brother Shola is affectionately known as the “Mackem Slayer” on Tyneside due to his goal record in the Tyne-Wear derby, so perhaps scoring against Sunderland runs in the Ameobi blood.

After scoring at the Stadium of Light earlier in the campaign, the signs are there, so will Sammy continue that tonight?

5. Free concessionary upgrades

Concessionary season card holders wishing to upgrade their tickets for Wanderers’ Sky Bet Championship clash with Sunderland can do so free of charge.

Available to supporters in possession of under-12, under-18, under-23, over-65 and over-75 season cards, fans are able to upgrade their ticket to a full adult for Tuesday’s clash with the Black Cats.

All adults wishing to use a concessionary season card simply has to present the card at the turnstile to gain entry to the stadium. No paper upgrade ticket will be needed for this fixture.

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Match Reports

Report: Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Sunderland

20 February 2018

Wanderers picked up a crucial victory over Sunderland at Macron Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The deadlock was broken inside 17 minutes as Zach Clough seemingly got the last touch on Filipe Morais' free-kick into the mix.

And the Whites almost doubled their lead deep into the second half as Jem Karacan's shot thundered off the underside of the crossbar.

But come full time, Clough's effort was the decisive one as Bolton collected all three points.

TEAM NEWS

Phil Parkinson rang the changes from the line-up that lost to QPR at the weekend. In came Andrew Taylor, Dorian Dervite, Jem Karacan, Aaron Wilbraham, Filipe Morais and Zach Clough as Bolton Wanderers faced bottom-placed Sunderland in a crucial ‘six-pointer’.

Antonee Robinson, Derik, Tyler Walker and Reece Burke dropped to the bench with Josh Vela on the sidelines with an ankle injury and Mark Little serving the first of a three-game suspension.

FIRST HALF

The game opened at a relatively gentle pace with neither side testing each other’s defence.

Sammy Ameobi was seeing plenty of the ball over on the right hand side and was getting jeered at every touch by the travelling Black Cats supporters due to his Newcastle United connections.

The visitors had the game’s first threatening moment when Karl Henry lost possession on the edge of his box which allowed Ashley Fletcher to get to the byline and pass across the face of goal. Fortunately for Wanderers, Joel Assoro was nowhere near the ball.

But it was the home side who took the lead after 17 minutes through on-loan Clough. The Sunderland defence failed to clear a free kick that was swung into the box by Morais and the diminutive front man got a decisive touch to steer the ball over the line.

Morais was causing problems out on the flanks and his cross from the right found Amoebi with his back to goal and although he managed to get his header on target it failed to trouble Lee Camp.

The goal seemed to have settled the early nerves and with the home fans in fine voice Wanderers had their tails up.

Fletcher had a glorious chance to equalise on the half-hour mark when he sprang the offside trap, but Ben Alnwick quickly narrowed the angle and made a superb save to deny the boyhood Wanderers fan a leveller.

Clough then had a chance to double his tally but took one touch too many as he galloped into the penalty box only to be dispossessed before shaping up to shoot.

The game ebbed and flowed and Paddy McNair hit a low powerful strike on target only to be thwarted by the former Black Cat Alnwick, who once again came to the rescue.

The visitors were enjoying their best spell with Wanderers struggling to get out of their own half.

Fletcher was then denied when his shot from distance was deflected for a corner from which came a goal mouth scramble before Wanderers eventually earned a goal kick to settle their nerves.

SECOND HALF

The visitors commenced the second half just as they ended the first by putting Wanderers under pressure.

Billy Jones was unlucky to see his low cross from the right flash across the face of goal without a team mate getting a decisive touch.

Fletcher, Sunderland’s main threat throughout, should have done better when he received the ball just on the edge of the box but his effort ballooned high and wide over Alnwick’s bar.

Wanderers were struggling to get a firm hold of the game and manager Phil Parkinson made his first changes just before the hour mark when Adam Le Fondre and Derik came on for Wilbraham and Clough.

Aiden McGeady, who had only just come onto the field after replacing Billy Jones, blasted his free kick into the wall from the edge of the box after Wheater committed a foul.

Ameobi was unlucky to see a left footed curler deflect for a corner as Wanderers strived to kill the game off.

In the space of ten seconds Wanderers were denied by the hands of Camp and the cross bar after chances in quick succession fell to Le Fondre and Karacan.

Wanderers were determined to increase their lead but also had to be weary of Sunderland on the break.

It was gripping stuff as both sides were showing fight in their bids to survive in the Sky Bet Championship.

And with six minutes of additional time indicated, the Bolton faithful were left holding their breath.

While Sunderland threw everyone forward in search of an equaliser however, their efforts proved fruitless when coming up against a resolute Bolton backline as Wanderers picked up all three points.

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Ticket News

Free concessionary upgrades for Sunderland clash

19 February 2018

Concessionary season card holders wishing to upgrade their tickets for Wanderers’ Sky Bet Championship clash with Sunderland can do so free of charge.

Available to supporters in possession of under-12, under-18, under-23, over-65 and over-75 season cards, fans are able to upgrade their ticket to a full adult for Tuesday’s clash with the Black Cats.

All adults wishing to use a concessionary season card simply has to present the card at the turnstile to gain entry to the stadium. No paper upgrade ticket will be needed for this fixture.

Tickets for the fixture remain on open sale and are available to purchase online and ‘Print at Home’ HERE.

Alternatively, tickets are also available over the phone on 0844 871 2932 or in person at Bolton Central.”

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