Wanderers make the trip South to take on promotion-chasing Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Ian Evatt’s men come into the clash in real form and looking for their sixth win in seven matches.
Currently second in the form table for the previous five fixture – Wanderers are only behind league leaders Rotherham United, and are looking to close the nine point gap between themselves in 10th position and the final play-off position.
Oxford are currently 5th in the table and three points behind second-placed Wigan Athletic despite a 2-0 midweek defeat at Accrington Stanley.
PRE-MATCH QUOTES: FROM THE BOSSES
Ian Evatt: “We’ve got most to play. We’ve got our eye on what’s to come but Oxford’s a really tough game.
“They will feel if they beat us that’s more or less us ticked off, whereas if we beat them – and we’ve got a game in hand as well – then we won’t be too far away, so it is a big game.
“They’ve got a very good home record, score loads of goals and we need to make sure we’re full tilt and ready to go.”
Karl Robinson: “I like Ian Evatt and he has done an excellent job at a massive football club. They will pack the away area but we will have a 10,000 crowd behind us again.
“I’m looking forward to the game on Saturday but so are Bolton, I’m sure. It will be two good teams and we are looking forward to getting back out there and playing at a place where we really enjoy playing in front of our fans.”
Wanderers will welcome George Johnston back to the 18-man squad after the central defender missed out on the midweek victory against Charlton Athletic with a bout of illness. The 23-year-old returned to training on Thursday and will come into contention for a return to the starting eleven.
After coming off at half-time in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Morecambe, Kieran Lee was an unused substitute during Tuesday’s victory and he could well come back into the starting line-up also.
Meanwhile, Elias Kachunga is stepping up his recovery from a thigh injury. Last featuring in the Papa John’s Trophy defeat at Hartlepool United in early January, the attacker is back running on the grass and nearing ever closer to a return to action.
TICKETS AND TRAVEL
Wanderers’ allocation of tickets for Saturday’s fixture has sold out.
LAST TIME OUT
Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Oxford United | Saturday 21 August 2021
Wanderers maintained their unbeaten start to life in Sky Bet League One with a first home victory of the season against one of last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists, Oxford United.
Falling behind early on to a controversial Matty Taylor goal, Ian Evatt’s men levelled on the stroke of half-time through Dapo Afolayan who fired a shot into the bottom corner past Jack Stevens from 25 yards out for his second league goal of the campaign.
In front of a crowd at the University of Bolton Stadium of just over 15,000, Eoin Doyle’s superb header gave Wanderers the lead just after the hour mark – connecting with a corner to leave Stevens with no chance. It was a goal that proved enough to earn the home side an impressive victory against a team with clear ambitions of reaching the Championship.
Line-Up: Dixon, Jones, Almeida Santos, Johnston, John (Baptiste 71), Williams, Sheehan, Sarcevic (Lee 88), Isgrove (Kachunga 81), Afolayan, Doyle.
Unused subs: Gilks, Brockbank, Thomason, Delfouneso.
Referee: Gavin Ward
Assistant Referees: Graham Kane and Adrian Waters
Fourth Official: Paul Howard