Preview: Five talking points ahead of Oldham Athletic v Bolton Wanderers previews Wanderers’ upcoming trip to Park

Wanderers travel to local-rivals Oldham Athletic on Saturday in the first game of a busy Easter period. As the Whites continue to challenge for automatic promotion, highlights five talking points ahead of Bolton’s trip to Park.

1. Derby day
Wanderers will taking on another local-rival when they make the short journey to Park to face Oldham Athletic on Saturday. 

Beating Fleetwood Town 2-1 at Macron Stadium in their first derby clash of the season back in August, the Whites have lost just one of the following five clashes with their neighbours this season.

Suffering a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Rochdale in late September, Phil Parkinson’s side went on to beat the Latics and Bury 2-0 before overcoming Rochdale in the reverse fixture.

Most recently putting in one of their performances of the season to beat Fleetwood 4-2 at Highbury, Bolton will be hoping they continue their recent success in derby days this Easter Weekend.

2. Early kick-off
Originally scheduled for 3pm kick-off, Saturday's game was moved to a 12.30 start earlier in the season.

It won’t be the first early kick-off of the season either, in fact, it’s the third. The first came back in October against Swindon Town with victory that day proving pivotal as it started a five match winning run in the league.

Despite losing their last early start against Peterborough United back in November, the Trotters will be hungrier than ever to come out on top this weekend, knowing exactly what could be at sake.

3. Away following
Wanderers will be backed by over 4,300 fans on Saturday - their largest away following of the season and biggest since the club's FA Cup trip to Liverpool in January 2015.

The club's away support in Sky Bet League One has been impeccable throughout the campaign and Parkinson's men will be eager to reward their travelling fans in what is their penultimate away day of 2016/17.

4. Options upfront
With Gary Madine battling to be fit for Saturday's game, the Whites will be calling upon their strength in depth in attack as they prepare to make the trip to Park.

Midfielder Josh Vela is Bolton's leading goalscorer so far this season with ten goals to his name, while central defenders Mark Beevers and David Wheater have both popped up with seven strikes apiece. 

Elsewhere, forward Adam Le Fondre has netted five goals from just 13 starts since his return to Macron Stadium on loan back in January.

With the Trotters currently finding utilising a 3-5-2 formation, Parkinson will have a decision to make regarding who partners ALF.

Conor Wilkinson was given the nod against Scunthorpe United while Max Clayton and Chris Long will also be competing for a starting role.

5. One step closer...
With Wanderers playing the day after their promotion-rivals, victory for the Whites on Saturday could see them go up if other results have gone their way.

However, Fleetwood Town and Bradford City would both need to lose on Good Friday while Scunthorpe United would also need to drop points for Bolton to be put in such a position.

Fingers crossed!

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