'Bolton v Boro - Opposition Preview'

'Bolton v Boro - Opposition Preview'

Championship football returns as Boro head to the Macron Stadium on Saturday to face bottom of the league Bolton Wanderers.

We spoke to Chris from Burnden Aces about Bolton's start to the season and what to expect from the game.

"The fixture list hasn't been kind to Bolton in the early stages of the season but, regardless of that, our league position does sadly sum up our performances and is a fair representation" said Chris.

"We've conceded three goals before half-time in two of our five league games and while we have performed well in parts, it tends to be when we're already a couple of goals down which is a major worry."

"Fans can accept being beat - it happens to all clubs and even more so when you've just been promoted - but we're yet to really get started this season and quickly need to turn the tide, even at this early stage."

Speaking about the transfer embargo placed upon Bolton, Chris said "it's a major problem and while the current ownership have worked miracles at times keeping the club alive, failing to shift the embargo rightly sees supporters pointing the finger."

"We got away with it to a degree last year. We were a big fish in a small pond and players wanted to be part of our resurgence."

"To give credit to Phil Parkinson, managing to recruit the likes of Adam Le Fondre, Sammy Ameobi and Will Buckley, amongst others, all without paying a fee is fantastic business."

"What really hurts us though is that we're restricted to a squad of 23 or 24, depending on who you believe, and have already missed key players in David Wheater, Josh Vela and Ameobi to bad injuries. We've also lost our captain of last season, Jay Spearing, after his contract expired and the league slapped a maximum wage of £4,500 upon us."

"For some strange reason, we're also unable to promote players from the under-23 squad, so the EFL are unhappy with our finances but are willing to allow young English prospects to sit through an entire season taking money and not playing. The embargo is obviously in place for a reason, but some of the restrictions are simply baffling."

When asked about which players Boro should look out for in the fixture, Chris said "Gary Madine has done well on our return to the Championship, while we've seen flashes of what Adam Armstrong and Will Buckley are capable of."

"As already mentioned, though, recent performances haven't been good and on current evidence, there isn't too much to fear from this Wanderers side."

"The two lads on loan from West Ham - Reece Burke and Josh Cullen - are very highly rated in those parts, so fingers crossed they can help turn our fortunes around."

Predicted Line Up and Formation

"A lot will likely depend on players available for selection. A mix of 3-5-2/5-3-2 served us well last season, utilising wing-backs to good effect, but we've been torn apart using those systems so far this campaign".

"Parkinson hinted prior to the international break that he does want to switch to a more familiar 4-4-2 with a holding midfielder, but we may have to wait for injuries to clear up before that can happen."

"I'm expecting a team along the lines of..."

Mark Howard
Andrew Taylor
Mark Beevers
Reece Burke
David Wheater/Dorian Dervite
Filipe Morais
Jem Karacan
Darren Pratley
Josh Cullen
Adam Le Fondre
Gary Madine

Score Prediction

"I don't think this will be the resounding away win we've seen at Macron Stadium so far, but I am still backing Boro to take all three points."

"There were two divisions between these sides just six months ago and I think that quality will eventually pull you through."

"Bolton 1-2 Middlesbrough"

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