Feb 222015
 

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

It was a sad day at The City Ground for Bolton Wanderers supporters, as Neil Lennon’s squad looked awful and former manager Dougie Freedman walked away with an easy three points.

Things were looking bad from the start going into Saturday’s match.  The injury list was shrinking a bit, as Matt Mills returned to the starting XI and Emile Heskey was on the bench, but the trip came too soon for Craig Davies.  Kevin McNaughton is fit though, as far as we know.  So is Josh Vela, who started in the midfield.  Despite that, Neil Lennon decided to start Tim Ream at right back, and give young midfielder Filip Twardzik his full debut at left back.  I’m not in close contact with Dougie Freedman at the moment, but I can only imagine that he and his Nottingham Forest side were a confident bunch when they saw today’s team sheets.

It didn’t take long for disaster to strike.  Chris Burke scored in the ninth minute.  Twardzik slipped, and even though Andy Lonergan managed to save the first shot, Burke easily scored on the rebound.  Michail Antonio scored Forest’s second in the 18th minute, running past three Bolton defenders before finishing well past Lonergan.  There was also a worrisome moment in the 34th minute when Tim Ream went down after colliding with the goal post.  He was stretchered off the pitch and replaced by Dean Moxey.  By this point winger Liam Feeney had moved to right back.

The away side were lucky not to be down by even more when they were thrown a lifeline.  Zach Clough was taken down in the box by Danny Fox.  Adam Le Fondre scored the penalty to make it 2-1 and give the traveling supporters some hope.  That hope didn’t last long.

Twardzik picked up an injury in the first half and had to be replaced at halftime by Emile Heskey.  Many have mentioned that they would like to see what Le Fondre could do working with a target man like Heskey.  Unfortunately, we only got to see this partnership for about 3 minutes.  Mills fouled Antonio, just as he had three minutes before the end of the first half, and Mills received a yellow card, just as he had three minutes before the end of the first half.  For this of you keeping track at home, that’s two yellow cards, which equals one red card, which equals ten men on the pitch for Bolton Wanderers.

Neil Lennon was enjoying his positional experimentations so much that he put Heskey at centre back, partnered with Dorian Derive for the remainder of the match.  Unsurprisingly, the defending that followed was a Shakespearian special, comedy and tragedy.  The comedy was Heskey trying to defend.  The tragedy was Lonergan giving away a penalty, and seriously injuring himself in the process.  It took six minutes for him to be stretchered off the pitch, and rumors were flying that he had broken his neck.  There have been some reports on Twitter that his CT scan came back negative, but the club have not confirmed anything.

Anyhow, Ben Amos made his debut for the club in this unfortunate situation, and was unable to stop Henri Lansbury scoring the penalty.  Burke later added a second to finish the scoring.

To sum up, Bolton were terrible.  The team sheet was a mess, players were in unfamiliar positions, there was a lack of effort, tactics seemed haphazard and poorly communicated, and as usual the defending was atrocious.  All in all, it was like Dougie was back in charge.  And now we have a quick turnaround trip to Middlesborough on Tuesday, with several new absentees through injury and suspension.  The praise was heaped on Neil Lennon when he first arrived, now it is time to earn it.

Feb 142015
 

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Championship clash between Bolton and Watford at the Macron Stadium as Neil Lennon looks to keep his unbeaten home league record alive.

By Barney Corkhill, Reporter
Filed: Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 14:42 UK

Last Updated: Friday, February 13, 2015 at 08:52 UK

Watford will be looking to strengthen their position in the playoff places when they travel to the Macron Stadium to face Bolton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon.

The Hornets picked up an important victory over 10-man Brentford on Tuesday night as Odion Ighalo once again proved to be the hero with a brace as his side came from behind to seal a late triumph over their top-six rivals.

That result saw Watford climb up to fifth in the table, and any slip-up from Ipswich Town away to Fulham this weekend would give Slavisa Jokanovic‘s side the chance to continue their ascent up into fourth place.

In Ighalo they have the league’s most in-form player, with the Nigerian having scored 11 goals in his last seven games, 10 of which have come in 2015 – more than any other player in the top four tiers of English football.

That lethal scoring spree has helped Watford to four wins in their last five games and eight in their last 11, leaving them only six points behind league leaders Middlesbrough.

Most of their recent success has come at Vicarage Road, however, and the win over Brentford on Tuesday was doubly important for Jokanovic as it ended a three-match losing streak on the road in all competitions.

Despite the quick turnaround in fixtures, Watford could name an unchanged lineup, with Fernando Forestieri and Troy Deeney – both of whom scored in a 3-0 Watford victory in the reverse fixture – providing support for the red-hot Ighalo.

Bolton also come into this match off the back of a midweek victory and, like Watford, they left it late to grab all three points at home to Fulham on Tuesday night.

The Trotters scored twice in the final 10 minutes to complete a come-from-behind win, with Manchester United loanee Saidy Janko amongst the scorers in a man-of-the-match performance on his debut for the club.

The importance of the result will not have been lost on Neil Lennon, who had seen his side go five matches without a victory in all competitions before the game, including a heartbreaking exit from the FA Cup.

Three of those outings came in the Championship as Bolton conceded 10 goals on their way to just one point from a possible nine, but they do still remain unbeaten in the league under Lennon at the Macron, with that run now stretching to nine matches.

With Birmingham City not in action this weekend, Bolton would move into the top half of the table with a victory, a sign of the impressive work Lennon has done at the club since his arrival.

A number of new additions impressed during the week and are in line to start again on Saturday, with Barry Bannan expected to continue in the middle of the park and Adam le Fondre likely to keep his place alongside Eidur Gudjohnsen up front after both strikers scored against Fulham.

David Wheater passed a late fitness test to start that match and should be included from the off again, but the likes of Liam Trotter, Adam Bogdan, Emile Heskey, Mark Davies, Max Clayton and Matt Mills could all miss out once more.

Bolton:

Form in Championship: DWLDLW
Form in all competitions: DLDLLW

Possible starting lineup: Lonergan; Janko, Wheater, Dervite, Ream; Vela, Bannan, Danns, Feeney; Gudjohnsen, Le Fondre

Watford:

Recent form: LWWLWW

Possible starting lineup: Gomes; Paredes, Cathcart, Angella, Anya; Watson, Tozser, Layun, Ighalo, Forestieri; Deeney

Sports Mole says: 2-2

Feb 122015
 
  • Liverpool are monitoring Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela 
  • Vela impressed against Liverpool in the recent FA Cup ties
  • The Reds bid for him when he was a teenager but their offer was rejected  

By Simon Jones for MailOnline

Published: 06:28 EST, 12 February 2015 | Updated: 10:52 EST, 12 February 2015

84 shares

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Liverpool are monitoring the progress of Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela. 

The 21-year-old was the subject of a £1million offer from Liverpool when he was a 17-year-old but Bolton turned it down.

Vela, however, impressed Liverpool staff in the recent cup ties between the sides and they will keep an eye on his performances. 

Liverpool are monitoring the progress of Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela (right)

Liverpool are monitoring the progress of Bolton Wanderers midfielder Josh Vela (right)

The 21-year-old impressed while playing against Liverpool in the FA Cup 

The 21-year-old impressed while playing against Liverpool in the FA Cup 

Sportsmail’s Big Match Stats: Bolton 1-2 Liverpool

The Trotters academy graduate can play at right back as well as in midfield and has two years left on contract. 

He lost his way under Dougie Freedman but has blossomed again under guidance from Neil Lennon. 

Vela has already made 19 appearances for Bolton this season – his best tally yet – but is still waiting for his first senior goal for the club. 

The Trotters academy graduate can play right-back as well as in midfield and has two years left on contract

The Trotters academy graduate can play right-back as well as in midfield and has two years left on contract

Vela lost his way under Dougie Freedman but has blossomed again under guidance from Neil Lennon

Vela lost his way under Dougie Freedman but has blossomed again under guidance from Neil Lennon

 

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Feb 122015
 
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Feb 122015
 
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Feb 122015
 
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