The bottom meets the top.
Bolton hopes to get off the bottom of the bottom and, if they are able to pick at least one stick this evening, would take the pitch on safe ground – and that would have been a big statement in the so-called battle of the contract. The five worst-placed clubs are found within a range of three sticks!
While Bolton chases safety, Bristol City chases a seat for the Premier League. They know the second place, which leads directly to the Premier League, and in the event of a three would pick up the same number of points as Derby County at the desirable place. At the same time, competitors must be kept at a distance, so as not to avoid ending dead ground.
There are thus at least as important points in the pot for both parties – albeit in completely different ends of the table.
One factor that strongly contradicts the home team is that attacking star Gary Madine left the club for playing in Cardiff City. With that, ten series goals and the best goalkeeper disappear. Next best is Sammy Ameobi on three bales. Who will step forward now?
Besides, Bolton misses the injured dude Jem Karacan and Darren Pratley.
Guests with a handful of breaks
Although Bolton got rid of their perhaps most important piece, we do not see them as chanceless here. The shape of the whole thing is a bit wary, but the home game has strengthened them enormously lately: only one loss on the nine most recent Championship matches. It’s awkward!
The shape is hardly the best in Bristol City either. They have 1-1-3 in the range, only series matches included, and have, for example, “just” won six of 14 matches on the move. Something bad, it’s not 6-6-2, but in any case it shows a significant difference between home and away.
Add on this a handful of damages to Bristol. Gary O’Neil, Jens Hegeler, Eros Pisano, Callum O’Dowda, Ivan Lukic and Frank Fielding are all injured and out. Nathan Baker is turned off.
The favorite should definitely be Bristol Citys, but should not it be so big?