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17 February 2018 Venue Loftus Road Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - Championship

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Match Previews

Preview: Five talking points ahead of Queens Park Rangers v Bolton Wanderers

16 February 2018

Wanderers are back on the road on Saturday as they travel to West London to face Queens Park Rangers.

Hoping to bounce back after their midweek defeat to Cardiff City, bwfc.co.uk highlights five talking points ahead of the Whites' trip to Loftus Road.

1. Away form

Defeat at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night leaves Wanderers with a solitary away win this season – a 1-0 triumph at Sheffield United in December.

While the Whites’ home form has been particularly impressive, kick-starting their push out of the relegation zone, Phil Parkinson's side will be a seeking a similar return from their outings on the road in the final third of the season with every point vital in the Sky Bet Championship relegation fight.

And with six of Bolton's remaining eight away matches coming against sides currently in the bottom half of the table, an upturn in away form could be crucial in securing their second tier status for next season, starting with a potential win against 16th placed QPR on Saturday.

2. Busy schedule

The Trotters' next away trip comes a week after Saturday's game when Wanderers make the long journey to Norfolk to take on Norwich City, but before that there is some home comfort with relegation-rivals Sunderland coming to Macron Stadium on Tuesday night.

Slap-bang in the middle of a run of games that will be hard on the legs, there is an opportunity for momentum to build as long as the Whites can bounce back from their defeat in Cardiff in midweek.

A win in West London would give the squad confidence ahead of the six-pointer with Sunderland and two positive results in three days could go a long way to putting considerable distance between Bolton and the drop zone.

3. High-profile returns?

Perhaps the return of the skipper will improve the Trotters’ away form? Darren Pratley has been missing since Wanderers' New Year’s Day victory through injury with the Whites losing both away matches without scoring a goal in his absence.

The London-born midfielder returned to first team training this week and will be eager to make his return in familiar surroundings ahead of a decisive run of fixtures in Bolton's Sky Bet Championship campaign.

One man who could also return to the starting line-up is David Wheater. The centre-back was utilised as a substitute in midweek at Cardiff but will be hoping to return to the heart of the Trotters' defence as they chase a vital three points in the capital. 

4. Karl Henry

Another high-profile return is that of midfielder Karl Henry as he goes back to his former club on Saturday.

The experienced midfielder made just short of 100 appearances for QPR over a four-year spell which included a season in the Premier League.

Having also won promotion to the top-flight through the play-offs during his time in West London, the veteran has been a regular in the Wanderers’ line-up since joining on a free transfer in September, captaining the Whites in their last outing against Cardiff.

Now preparing to return to Loftus Road for the first time since leaving the club at the end of last season, Henry would love to show QPR what they missed out by allowing his contract to run down.

5. Tight at the bottom

With so few points separating the teams in the bottom half, every match is vital at this stage of the season.

Three of the five teams below Bolton are in action on Saturday, where certain results could leave just two points separating 24th and 19th by 5pm.

But a win could move the Trotters as many as five points clear of the relegation zone and within three points of QPR.

Victory over the hosts, who are currently six places above the Championship drop zone, would pull them right back into the mix and give a new target for Wanderers to leapfrog in the table.

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Match Reports

Report: Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

17 February 2018

Ten-man Wanderers succumbed to their second defeat on their travels inside a week after they lost to QPR at Loftus Road.

They had to play the majority of the second-half without Mark Little who was dismissed ten minutes after the restart for a challenge on Massimo Luongo.

Joel Lynch’s goal shortly afterwards and Matt Smith’s injury time header condemned Phil Parkinson’s men to the loss following Tuesday night’s reverse at Cardiff City.

Team News

Three changes were made to the side following the midweek defeat to Cardiff City as Bolton Wanderers made another long distance trip. David Wheater, Tyler Walker and Mark Little came in to replace Dorian Dervite, Adam Le Fondre and Filipe Morais, who were named among the substitutes.

First Half

Sammy Ameobi was fouled quite early into the contest as he turned and lost his marker to get a run on goal. Karl Henry, returning to Loftus Road, took the free kick, which caused a moment of mayhem in the QPR box. The hosts took several attempts to clear the ball – and survived a half-hearted penalty appeal – before the danger was negated.

At the other end, an unfortunate deflection culminated in a corner which caused a scramble before Ben Alnwick made a solid catch off Jack Robinson’s powerful volley.

Ameobi’s neat control and sophistry were very problematic for QPR’s’ defenders and again he won a free kick in a dangerous position. This resulted in the best chance of the game, which saw Alex Smithies make a wonderful save to thwart Derik’s near post glance from breaking the deadlock with barely ten minutes of the game elapsed.

Action switched once again to the other half of the pitch and Alnwick had to be wary to prevent Luke Freeman from opening the scoring after he latched onto a long throw. Alnwick’s legs came to the rescue immediately afterwards after a low ball was swung into the box.

Alnwick was certainly the busier of both keepers and he made a superlative save to keep out giant striker Matt Smith’s header from a left sided cross. The Wanderers keeper had to dive at full stretch to keep the parity.

Reece Burke spectacularly put the ball in his own net after Smith failed to connect with a low ball, but the assistant referee had earlier flagged for offside to spare the Wanderers’ defender’s blushes.

Smith was getting more into the game as the half wore on and he was making a nuisance of himself in the Wanderers box with his gargantuan presence.

Play had somewhat tempered after a frenetic opening period, but Tyler Walker had a chance from distance right on the half-hour mark but was unable to trouble Smithies with his tame shot.

Karl Henry received the game’s first caution for a high challenge on Josh Scowen in the QPR penalty area.

Alnwick was once alert to keep out a glanced header from Jake Bidwell who was to rise to Freeman’s in-swinging free-kick.

Right into injury time, Smith, again unmarked, headed high over the bar much to the relief of the defenders around him.

That Wanderers ended the half without conceding a goal was testament to the ability of Alnwick and the profligacy of Smith, who despite dominating the aerial battles, was unable to find a way beyond the Wanderers gloveman.

Second Half

Jem Karacan replaced Josh Vela during the interval for his first appearance since September.

Wanderers almost took the lead after Wheater leaped at the far post to head Ameobi’s free-kick on target emphatically, but the impressive Smithies once again denied the visitors by pushing the ball away for a corner.

The visitors suffered a massive blow ten minutes after the restart when Little was shown a straight red for a late tackle on Massimo Luongo. Replays showed that although the challenge was clumsy it didn’t warrant a sending off

The numerical disadvantage on the field was countered by the thousand-strong traveling Wanderers fans who were chanting ‘We Are The One And Only Wanderers’ implacably. And they nearly turned the volume up a further notch when Walker went narrowly wide with an angled drive after breaking the offside trap.

Despite being a man down, the visitors enjoyed their best sustained period of play with Alnwick enjoying something of a respite from attacking hostilities.

The reprieve was only short-lived as he made another superlative save to tip over Freeman’s drive at the expense of a corner.

Phil Parkinson made a second substitution with twenty minutes remaining when he brought on Le Fondre for Walker.

The goal came just minutes later when Joel Lynch headed the ball home at the far post after Smith nodded into the danger area from a free kick.

It was a disappointing way for Wanderers to concede after they had shown so much resilience up until that moment.

Wanderers final substation saw Morais on for Derik with just less than ten mnutes to go.

The visitors had a strong penalty appeal turned down when Ameobi broke away after collecting Alnwick’s long thrown. The big Wanderers attacker slipped in Morais on the overlap, whose centre seemingly struck the hands of a QPR defender. The officials, thought, were having none of it and Wanderers had to settle for a corner.

Despite the attacking substitutions Wanderers didn’t trouble Smithies any further and Smith made sure of the victory deep into injury time when he nodded a right-sided centre beyond Alnwick.

Wanderers now face a crucial home match against Sunderland on Tuesday night and will be looking to maintain their superb home form after two successive frustrating performances on their travels.

Full Time

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Ticket News

Take advantage of official Club travel for QPR trip

16 February 2018

Avoid traffic and parking woes by using official club travel for Saturday's trip to Loftus Road!

Wanderers travel to Queens Park Rangers this weekend and there's still time for fans to take advantage of official club travel for the Whites' trip to the capital.

Kicking off at 3pm, limited places remain available with coaches for the trip costing £28 per person and departing Macron Stadium at 8am on Saturday 17 February.

Seats are available to purchase in person at Bolton Central, over the phone on 0844 871 2932 (option two then option one) and ONLINE.

Please note, it is a criminal offence to take alcohol onto coaches which are travelling to sporting events as per The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol) Act 1985. Bolton Wanderers reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone in possession or under the influence of alcohol. Any alcohol found on the coach will be confiscated.

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