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Preview: Five talking points ahead of West Bromwich Albion v Bolton Wanderers

2 August 2018

Wanderers are back in action at The Hawthorns this weekend to begin their 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship clash with an enticing encounter against newly relegated West Bromwich Albion.

Ahead of the opening day clash against The Baggies, bwfc.co.uk has highlighted five key talking points.

1. New Season

Last season ended in dramatic fashion for Phil Parkinson's men, retaining their Sky Bet Championship status with a late comeback victory against Nottingham Forest at the University of Bolton Stadium - Aaron Wilbraham proving to be the hero on that sunny May afternoon.

The new season gets underway this Saturday afternoon in the West Midlands with Wanderers facing a side relegated from the top flight after seven consecutive seasons going blow for blow with the nation's big hitters. Phil Parkinson will be looking to try and take his side one step further following survival last time out. The first of 46 league games begins at 3pm, Saturday 4 August.

2. Debutants

Wanderers have been busy in the summer, recruiting a whole host of new faces to re-build the squad ahead of another Sky Bet Championship campaign. A total of nine new faces have been brought to the University of Bolton stadium, with each of them looking to make their debuts for the club this weekend.

In the defensive ranks, Polish internatonal right-back Pawel Olkowski was brought in after departing FC Koln, with Jack Hobbs signing a one-year deal after spending most of the summer on trial following his departure from Nottingham Forest. Former Sunderland utility man Marc Wilson added depth to the defence and the midfield, with experienced central midfielders Jason Lowe and Luke Murphy also brought in.

A goal-scoring attacking midfielder, Erhun Oztumer was signed on a two-year deal after leaving Sky Bet League One side Walsall, following two sparkling years with The Saddlers. Speedy winger, Yanic Wildschut arrived on a loan deal from Norwich City and in the strike department, Clayton Donaldson and Josh Magennis were snapped up from Sheffield United and Charlton Athletic respectively.

3. First trip to The Hawthorns since 2011

Wanderers will make their first trip to the home of West Bromwich Albion, in coming up to seven years. In November 2011, Owen Coyle's side were beaten with Shane Long's second half goal proving decisive. In the first half, Jerome Thomas opened the scoring before Ivan Klasnic's equaliser from the penalty spot. 

Without a win in seven visits, Wanderers last took all three points at The Hawthorns in August 2000; Isaiah Rankin and Gareth Farrelly on target in a 2-0 victory. Phil Parkinson's men will be looking for a first win against The Baggies on their own turf, in 18 years.

4. Big away following

The first game of the season, usually means a big crowd and a big travelling following from the visiting team. Wanderers fans will have been anticipating Saturday's kick-off since the final whistle blew in May at the University of Bolton Stadium.

News from the Ticket Office at the time of writing is that there will be approximately 2,500 Wanderers supporters making the 2 hour journey to the West Midlands on Saturday afternoon. The excitement continues to build!

5. No pay on the day

If you're not travelling to The Hawthorns with a match ticket this weekend, then you won't be allowed entry into the ground. Please ensure you have bought your ticket before making the journey.


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