Ayr United Preview

A look ahead to Wednesday's first friendly of pre-season at Somerset Park

Ayr United v Bolton Wanderers.
Wednesday 18 July.
Somerset Park, 7.45pm Kick-Off.

Bolton Wanderers kick-off their pre-season tour of Scotland on Wednesday night with a friendly against Ayr United.

Ayr who are nicknamed 'The Honest Men' play their home games at the 10,185 capacity Somerset Park.

Bolton's last visit to Ayr was in pre-season ahead of the 1969/70 campaign, with Wanderers winning 2-1.

Following their relegation to the Second Division at the end of the 2011/12 season, Mark Roberts became player-manager of Ayr.

Roberts still features as a striker and has played for Ayr since 2009. He is a key figure for the team having finished top scorer in the last three seasons.

Speaking to Ayr's official website ahead of the friendly, Roberts said: "Bolton were a Premiership side last year, have fantastic calibre and I am sure they will fight their way back up this year.

"It is a fantastic opportunity for our young players and experienced players to play against the like of Bolton."

Wanderers Assistant Manager Sandy Stewart has memories of playing at Somerset Park. His last visit was on the final day of the 2001/02 season as an Airdrieonians player.

However, the game was cut short following trouble in the crowd - caused largely by the Airdrieonians fans who were protesting at the club's financial plight at that time.

"The fans ran on the pitch and snapped the crossbar so after 20 minutes the game got abandoned," recalled Stewart.

But with Wednesday's friendly expected to be played in much more relaxed atmosphere and manner, Stewart believes it's the perfect fixture to return to match action.

He added: "Ayr are a good club and over the course of recent years have mostly played in the Scottish First Division.

"They will provide good opposition for our first game and knowing, from when I played in Scotland and English clubs came up, they will definitely raise their game."

Ayr had a successful start to their pre-season campaign, drawing 1-1 with Queens Park and beating Scottish Premier League side Motherwell 4-0, however they were beaten at home 4-1 by Partick Thistleon Monday.

Fans travelling to Somerset Park are advised to note that Bolton fans will be located in the Railway End and West End of the Main Stand.

Admission at the turnstiles is £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
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