The Express & Star’s Wolves writer previews the weekend's game at Macron Stadium
After the international break Bolton return to competitive action against Wolves at Macron Stadium this weekend.
And ahead of the fixture The Express & Star’s Wolves writer Tim Spiers offers his thoughts to bwfc.co.uk on Bolton's latest opponents.
bwfc.co.uk: What would you say Wolves' aims for the new campaign? What would constitute as success this season?
TS: Promotion is the undoubted aim and anything less than that is a failure. Having not splashed the cash in the summer, instead electing to bring in up-and-coming players, many supporters have lowered their expectations. But with the Premier League riches continuing to evade them year after year, they fall further behind clubs that fans demand they finish above, due to the size, history and traditions of Wolves. Fans would much rather support an energetic and honest young group of players than a bunch of overpaid mercenaries, as has happened at Wolves many times over the years. But promotion it has to be.
bwfc.co.uk: Who do you see as their key players this year?
TS: Benik Afobe is the star man, make no mistake. When a bid of £10million from Norwich City is turned down, it's clear how important Afobe is to Wolves. His partner in crime Nouha Dicko is out for the season with a knee injury and will be sorely missed. With Bakary Sako, Nouha Dicko and Richard Stearman - last season's top three in the player of the season vote - all missing this time around, it's up to others to step up to the plate and support Afobe. Kevin McDonald's influence is key - if he plays well, so do Wolves. Wallace could prove key if he hits the ground running, while Danny Batth's leadership at centre half is even more crucial in Stearman's absence.
bwfc.co.uk: Bolton will face one of their recent loanees this afternoon in Adam Le Fondre. How has he settled in at Molineux?
TS: He struggled to make an immediate impact as he carried an injury over from last season, but a full 90 minutes in the Capital One Cup victory over Barnet, tirelessly leading the line and setting up two goals, showed what he could do. He followed that up with a late winner from the bench in Wolves' most recent game, a 2-1 victory over Charlton at Molineux two weeks ago. He looks to have just the attributes Wolves need and in Dicko's season-long absence, he and Afobe are the strikers charged with firing Wolves to promotion.
bwfc.co.uk: How do you see today’s encounter going?
TS: The international break arrived at a bad time, coming after that morale-boosting victory over Charlton. Wolves have an atrocious recent record at Bolton. Robbie Keane was playing for them in their only ever win at Macron Stadium, a 1999 FA Cup tie. But with Bolton having started the season poorly, not something I expected personally, they may even be favourites to win. A score draw is the likeliest result, though.
Preview: Bolton v Wolves
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