Bolton Wanderers are back on the road this Friday evening, as they take on Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship. With that in mind, bwfc.co.uk highlight five key points to take into the game.
When speaking to bwfc.co.uk this morning, manager Phil Parkinson gave an update on the squad prior to the weekend’s game against Aston Villa.
When asked about the state of the squad, Parkinson said: “Sammy Ameobi has trained this week. He's trained with the group and has worked very hard with physio Matt Barrass prior to that."
"He is ahead of Stephen Ireland, because he has had a setback with his calf.
"He should be back in full training next week.
"It is a longer term project with Stephen, as he has missed all of pre-season.
"Sammy is looking very good and we are happy with his progress.
"Everyone who was available last week is available for this game.
"Pawel had a small ankle problem, but he has been on the training pitch which is good.
"Going away with Poland meant that he missed some training time, but I have been pleased with him this week."
Smith is a relative new face to the Villa fans, as he only joined the club as manager on October 10 of this year with John Terry as his assistant coach.
Following a 500+ appearances playing career at the likes of Walsall, Hereford United and Leyton Orient, Smith joined the latter as a youth coach before taking the assistant manager’s role in January 2005.
In July 2009, he went back to Walsall and took over the Head of Youth Development role.
He took the top managerial role at the Saddlers in January 2011 and steered the club away from Sky Bet League One relegation, despite being nine points adrift at the bottom of the table when Smith took the reins as top boss.
During his time at Walsall, he was nicknamed the “Ginger Mourinho” by fans, who heralded his performance as manager in 2013/14 as he steered the club to a promotion push that year.
In November 2015 with Walsall fourth in League One, Smith joined Championship club Brentford.
He led the Bees to three mid-table finishes in the second tier of English football before joining Aston Villa.
New faces at Villa Park
During the summer transfer window, a whole host of fresh players were brought to the Midlands club. Here, bwfc.co.uk take you through a selection of those new arrivals.
In-between the sticks, Norwegian international Ørjan Nyland was brought in from 2. Bundesliga side, FC Ingolstadt.
Whilst in his native Norway, Nyland won the Cupen (Norwegian F.A Cup) twice with Molde (2013 and 2014), along with the Eliteserien once in 2014.
He has also had personal success internationally, being named in the UEFA Under-21 European Championship Team of the Tournament back in 2013, as Norway reached the semi-finals.
The midfield was reinforced with Scottish international John McGinn joining on a permanent basis from Hibernian on a four-year contract.
Starting his career at St. Mirren, McGinn was a pivotal player in the Buddies Scottish League Cup triumph in 2012/13.
Following his three season stay with St. Mirren, the centre midfielder joined Hibernian, where he won the Scottish Cup in 2015/16, followed by promotion to the Scottish Premiership in 2016/17.
In his first season in the Scottish Premiership, McGinn certainly made quite the impression on the top tier of Scottish football as he was one of four players nominated for the 2017/18 PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year.
The Villans delved into the loan market with the likes of Axel Tuanzebe, Yannick Bolasie and Tammy Abraham all being brought in.
Young centre-back Tuanzebe certainly has high youth honours during his time in the development system at Manchester United, by winning the prestigious Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year (2014/15) and Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year (2016/17).
Congolese international Bolasie joined Villa on a season-long loan in August 2018.
The tricky winger shot onto the scene once he joined Crystal Palace, earning a place in the PFA Team of the Year in 2012/13 as the Eagles gained promotion to the Premier League that same season.
Similar to Tuanzebe, Abraham had a glittering youth career at his parent club Chelsea.
Recording consecutive FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League titles, with Abraham finishing as top goal scorer in the 2015/16 UEFA Youth League with eight goals in nine games.
Moving up to men’s open age football can be tough sometimes but not for Abraham, as he flourished during his first taste of it at Bristol City on loan in 2016/17.
He scored 23 goals in the Sky Bet Championship that season for the Robins, winning their Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Top Goal scorer awards.
Game to remember: 25 April 1998
When thinking of our travels to Aston Villa in the past, bwfc.co.uk take you back to 25 April 1998.
Colid Todd's Wanderers headed to Villa Park to take on John Gregory's Villans.
With 18 minutes on the clock and the Whites opened the scoring through Neil Cox, as the defender scored his first goal for the club past an outstretched Mark Bosnich.
After stealing the ball away fro Riccy Scimeca in the centre of the field, Bob Taylor ran all the way to the edge of the Villa penalty area, before unleashing a superb driven strike into the bottom right corner to give Wanderers the lead once again.
The cherry on top came with six minutes to go, as forward Nathan Blake headed home from a near post corner to seal three points for the Whites.
The rewatch or to see the highlights for the first time, click on the link below:
Wanderers’ fans are reminded that following our fixture against Aston Villa, the M6 northbound will be closing from junction 18 at 10pm.
An alternative route back to the University of Bolton Stadium is to take M54, following signs for Telford/Wolverhampton/Shrewsbury.
Following that at junction three, merge onto the A41 followed by the A49.
At the Stretton roundabout, take the fourth exit onto the M56 slip road, where supporters’ are then able to merge onto the M6 once again.