Preview: Five talking points ahead of Bolton Wanderers v Preston North End

Wanderers return to home comforts on Saturday as they host local-rivals Preston North End at Macron Stadium.

Looking to claim local bragging rights and maintain their recent form at BL6, highlights five talking points ahead the Whites’ clash with the Lilywhites.

1. Derby Day

Despite the amount of bragging rights on offer last season in Sky Bet League One, derby days have been few and far between this campaign for the Wanderers with Preston North End their only neighbours at this level.

The reverse fixture between the sides back in November finished in stalemate as neither side could find a winner in an entertaining goalless draw at Deepdale.

With three of the sides below Wanderers not in action due to the weather placed and their North West rivals sitting just outside the play-offs, excitement is high heading into the game with more than just local bragging rights up for grabs.

2. Home form

Phil Parkinson’s men have put together a great run of results at Macron Stadium in recent months, suffering just one league defeat since September on their own patch.

Bolton claimed a valuable victory over Sunderland in their last home outing, with that win ensuring the Trotters extended their unbeaten home run in the league to six matches, having last suffered defeat in front of their home fans back in mid-December.

And with Preston set to be backed by over 3,500 fans at Macron Stadium, Wanderers will be looking to make their home advantage count once again on Saturday.

3. Home-grown players

Local boys Josh Vela and Zach Clough are both in contention to feature against the Lilywhites on Saturday.

The pair know what derby day means to those around BL6 having come through the Whites academy in recent years.

Although Vela has missed the last two matches through injury, he could return to the side this weekend after returning to training during the week.

Meanwhile, Clough could get his first taste of a North West derby since rejoining the club on loan from Nottingham Forest on January deadline day.

The 22-year-old netted the winner in Bolton’s 1-0 victory over Sunderland last time out at the Macron.

How fitting it would be if either player left their mark on derby day!

4. Jan Kirchhoff

New Trotters signing Jan Kirchhoff could make his first appearance for the club since joining on a free transfer last week.

The 6ft 5” German previously had spells with Bayern Munich, Schalke 04 and Sunderland before checking in to BL6 on a deal till the end of the season.

Having coming through two Under-23s matches unscathed in recent weeks, the midfielder is available for selection against the Lilywhites on Saturday.

However, with pre-match preparations disrupted by adverse weather conditions this week, Phil Parkinson is undecided on whether to call upon Kirchhoff's services as the versatile midfielder is nursed back to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines prior to his move to Wanderers.

5. All happening at Macron Stadium

With the Whites locking horns with Preston on the pitch, it's also all going on off the pitch at Macron Stadium this weekend.

Despite the adverse weather conditions, tomorrow afternoon’s fixture is set to go ahead as scheduled.

Fans are advised to set off with plenty of time when arriving to the stadium, taking into consideration the industrial action currently affecting the trains – with replacement bus services being made available.

Bolton Central is the place to be before kick off with the club hosting another signing session with a member of the first time squad from 2pm!

Fans will also have the chance to purchase 17/18 adult replica shirts at £29.99, children’s kits and mini kits for £24.99 and baby kits at £19.99 while stocks last, with a 50% reduction on shirt printing is also available for limited time only. 

Numerous volunteers will also be dotted around the Macron tomorrow afternoon raising funds for Prostate Cancer UK. The disease is the most common type of cancer found in men with 1 in 8 males on average being diagnosed in their lifetime. We hope all supporters will give generously.

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