Wanderers meet Barrow AFC in the Papa Johns Trophy in a reunion for Whites’ boss Ian Evatt and most of his backroom staff.
Evatt led the Bluebirds back into the EFL after a 48-year absence in 2020 before making the switch to the Whites.
He will be looking to guide Wanderers into the last-16 of the competition for the second season in a row and keep alive the prospect of a run towards a Wembley final.
Barrow are enjoying their best run in the competition since promotion and sit fourth in League Two following an impressive start to the season.
Ian Evatt: “I’m delighted that they’ve managed to sustain themselves in League Two since promotion and are doing really well.
“There are some fantastic people up there, who gave me my start in football.
“They took a huge risk on me. I’d like to think I re-paid that with promotion to the Football League for the first time in almost 50 years but since then they’ve managed to stay up and they’ve progressed and they’re doing really well, which is fantastic to see.
“I’ve no doubts they’re going to want to come here and beat me and beat us, that’s just the way football is, and vice-versa but I have massive fond memories of that place.
“It gave me a huge start and I’ll never forget it.”
Barrow manager Pete Wild: “We’re only four games away from Wembley, so why wouldn’t you want to go out there and try and get to Wembley?
“We want to do well and we are all excited by the draw. With not having a game next Saturday with our FA Cup exit, that’ll allow us to look at this fixture differently and really go at the game.
“It’ll be a very tough test, as we are going to a team in Bolton that are doing really well in the league above.
“So, let’s challenge ourselves and let’s see where we are and what challenges we can overcome from a team that is flying in League One.”
Wanderers will have Cumbrian Kyle Dempsey back from a one-match ban.
Kieran Sadlier, who came second in the national vote for the player-of-the-round from the qualifying stage, became a father over the weekend but is keen to be involved.
Defender Eoin Toal is also expected to feature for the Whites after two previous Trophy appearances but striker Amadou Bakayoko isn’t yet available following his international commitments with Sierra Leone.
Wanderers’ win at Fleetwood Town on Saturday took their record to just one defeat in six league games.
The Whites will be looking for a first home win in three fixtures across three different competitions.
Ian Evatt’s men won both of their two group games in the Trophy at the University of Bolton Stadium – scoring seven times – as they topped the group to secure a home tie.
Barrow qualified for the knock-out stage of the competition for the first time since their return to the EFL under Evatt by finishing second in their group.
A 2-0 home win over Carlisle sealed the Bluebirds’ progress through.
Last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Hartlepool followed back-to-back losses in league and cup as Pete Wild’s side climbed to fourth place in League Two.
Referee: Rebecca Welch
Assistant referees: Richard Woodward and Johnathon Bickerdike
Fourth official: Matt Corlett
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