Wanderers will begin their 2020/21 Sky Bet League Two campaign on Saturday afternoon with an opening day fixture against Forest Green Rovers at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Having played the first two fixtures of the season, both in different cup competitions, the players have had their first taste of life as Wanderers players under the guidance of Head Coach Ian Evatt who has been at the helm for little over two months.
Ultimately, Wanderers were beaten by Bradford City in the Carabao Cup and more recently by Crewe Alexandra in the EFL Trophy, but Evatt will potentially take a great deal of encouragement from his team’s display in their most recent 45 minutes of action.
Ian Evatt: ‘Primarily they (Forest Green) were a football team and I think they’ve learned that in League Two you need to be a bit more physical and direct. I think they’ve gone a little bit more direct with their style.
‘On the day it’s 11 vs 11 and 1 vs 1 and if we win the majority of those battles against the opponent then we’ll win the game. We just need to concentrate more defensively and keep clean sheets. If we keep clean sheets then we’ll win football matches because we’ve got firepower at the top end of the pitch.’
Mark Cooper: ‘It feels a bit strange at the minute with no fans, but we’re going to a big club who were in the Premier League not so long ago and we’re really looking forward to it.
‘Bolton have a new manager and they’re playing expansive football like his team did at Barrow. They’re possession-based, and they play through the pitch rather than over it.’
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It would pretty difficult to predict the Wanderers starting eleven ahead of this weekend’s encounter with Evatt making four changes to the team that faced Bradford, for Tuesday’s Trophy fixture against Crewe.
Dennis Politic remains a long-term absentee with a knee injury with Liam Edwards and Muhammadu Faal also side-lined.
After scoring a fantastic goal off the bench against Crewe on Tuesday evening, Shaun Miller could be pushing for a place in the starting eleven this weekend.
In the Forest Green camp, Elliott Whitehouse is suspended and continues to serve a ban from his time at Grimsby Town last season.
Liam Kitching is back in contention after returning from injury to feature in the midweek EFL Trophy fixture against Exeter City and recent signing Scott Wagstaff could come into contention to start after playing during the week.
Team news will be available from 2pm tomorrow afternoon.
Bolton win: 21/20
Forest Green win: 12/5
Correct as of 11/09/2020 (12.30pm) on skybet.com
Wanderers come into the match on the back of two defeats in the opening two fixtures of the campaign following a 2-1 defeat to Bradford City in the Carabao Cup and a 3-2 defeat to Crewe Alexandra in the EFL Trophy.
Ian Evatt’s side will be hoping to look forward and get the league campaign off to a positive start.
Forest Green have too lost their first two fixtures. After a 2-1 home defeat to Leyton Orient in the Carabao Cup, Mark Cooper’s side got their EFL trophy campaign underway with a 3-2 away defeat to Exeter City at St. James’ Park. Matt Stevens scored a brace for Rovers in that game.
Last time out:
The two teams have never met before and Saturday’s fixture will be the first competitive match between Bolton Wanderers and Forest Green Rovers.
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Assistant Referees: David Hunt and Kenwyn Hughes.
Fourth Official: Hristo Karaivanov.