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Match Previews

Preview: Five talking points ahead of Walsall v Bolton Wanderers

16 September 2016

bwfc.co.uk previews Saturday's clash with Walsall at Banks's Stadium

With the captain's armband up for grabs as Wanderers travel to Walsall looking to consolidate their lead at the top of the Sky Bet League One table, bwfc.co.uk highlights five talking points ahead of Saturday's game.



1. No Jay Spearing
After picking up his fifth booking of the season against MK Dons last weekend, Jay Spearing will miss this weekend's clash against Walsall through suspension.

One of the division's standout performers during the opening weeks of the campaign, the midfielder's absence is a blow to Wanderers as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

However, as one door closes another one opens with Tom Thorpe and Derik Osede the two players likely to compete for Spearing's place in the side.

Thorpe came on as a late substitute to make his Whites debut last week against MK Dons having joined the club on loan from Rotherham United on deadline day.

Derik meanwhile has recently returned to fitness after coming off in the EFL Cup against Blackpool, having also seen his pre-season disrupted because of injury.

The duo both gained valuable minutes on Monday as they started in Bolton Under-23s victory over Queens Park Rangers, and will be eager to impress should either one of them be given the nod at the Banks's Stadium.

2. Who's captain?
With Jay Spearing ruled out and both regular skipper Darren Pratley and last season's vice-captain Mark Davies long-term absentees, the captain's armband is up for grabs as the Trotters travel to Walsall.

Manager Phil Parkinson shared with bwfc.co.uk that he won't divulge the identity of Saturday's skipper until shortly before kick off.

Potential candidates include Josh Vela, who led Wanderers when they faced Everton in the Checkatrade Trophy last month, Mark Beevers, who donned the armband in pre-season against Mansfield Town, and David Wheater, the Whites' longest serving available player who previously captained the side on occasions under previous managers.

Whether one of the trio is given the nod or the manager has someone else in mind will become clear come 2pm at the Banks's Stadium.

3. First away game of September
After three successive home draws, the Whites' trip to Walsall marks their first away outing this month having last been on their travels against Charlton Athletic.

Unbeaten on the road so far this season having previously not won away from home for over a year, Bolton will be eager to maintain their current run as they look to consolidate their lead at the top of the Sky Bet League One table.

4. The travelling support
At the time of writing, the Trotters will be back by roughly 1,600 travelling supporters at the Banks's Stadium this weekend.

Wanderers' away following have been magnificent so far this season, being backed by vocal numbers wherever the Whites are playing, be it locally at Blackpool, in the capital against the likes of AFC Wimbledon and Charlton Athletic or a midweek trip to Bristol Rovers.

More of the same on Saturday please, Bolton fans! 

5. Top of the league!
The Trotters remain unbeaten as they sit top of the Sky Bet League One table heading into their latest game.

Two points clear of closest rivals Scunthorpe United and Bradford City after three successive draws, Wanderers know what they have to do to maintain their lead come 5pm on Saturday.

And with the Iron currently holding one game in hand on the Whites, there is an added importance to extend their unbeaten run as Bolton looked to gain an upper-hand in the early stages of the campaign.


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