Bolton Wanderers V Derby County - The Preview

Bolton Wanderers
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The Trotters host the Rams this Saturday afternoon, with Derby hoping to claim all three points against Dougie Freedman's struggling side. Three of the last four meetings between the two sides have ended in draws, with Bolton winning the first meeting of the 2012/13 season 2-0 at the Reebok Stadium. Bolton have had a torrid start to their third consecutive season in the Football League since their relegation in 2012, as they have claimed just 5 points and sit 21st in the league. The Wanderers' last outing was a trip to rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, where they suffered a 1-0 defeat, whilst also missing a spot-kick, piling more pressure on the under-fire manager Dougie Freedman. Derby, who were tipped to lift the Championship trophy this season before the opening weekend, have had a solid start to the 2014/15 campaign, as they have lost just once in the opening eight fixtures. Their last fixture was a spirited 2-2 draw with Cardiff City, who had sacked previous manager Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer just days before, as the Rams claimed their 13th point of the season.

The Trotters have been struggling with injury concerns in the recent weeks, with Adam Bogdan, Liam Trotter, Marc Tierney, Josh Vela and David Wheater all being forced to the sideline as they start their recovery to full fitness. The signing of Paddy Kenny and former Crewe Alexander forward Max Clayton last week could help kick-start their season, and the return of loanee Kevin McNaughton could held sure things up at the back. Derby boss Steve McClaren will be without Jake Buxton and Paul Coutts, as they are both struggling with hip flexor problems, whilst Jeff Hendrick is still recovering from a dislocated shoulder. Liverpool loanee Jordan Ibe could be given his first start in a Rams shirt, after he scored in their 2-2 draw with Cardiff last weekend.

If Bolton are going to get anything out of this clash, Freedman will have to set out in a 4-4-2 formation and attack the Derby back line, as the Wanderers' defence are prone to conceding. We will have to give Mark Davies the freedom of the park, as he is by far our best creative player in the squad.

Bolton Wanderers possible line-up - 4-4-2 - Lonergan, McNaughton, Dervite, Mills, Ream, Feeney, Spearing, M.Davies, Chung-Yong, C.Davies, Mason.

Former England boss Steve McClaren is likely to field a similar side that fought out a draw against Cardiff, with a 4-4-1-1 formation set to be used.

Derby County possible Line-Up - 4-4-1-1 - Grant, Keogh, Whitbread, Christie, Forsyth, Hughes, Eustace, Bryson, Ibe, Ward, Martin.

Even though I am hoping for Bolton to run out 10-0 winners against Derby, I can't see us taking anything from games as long as Freedman is in charge. The Rams are a strong side throughout and will easily walk over us, so Bolton Wanderers 0-3 Derby County.

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