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Three To Watch: The trio of Bolton players hoping to give Sunderland post-Christmas blues

A former Sunderland man in decent form, a tricky winger and a former Rangers youngster are the three most likely dampen any festive spirit on Wearside today.

Peterborough United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Andrew Kearns - CameraSport via Getty Images

Daryl Murphy

19/20 Goals/Games: 11/6

Our former striker will be keeping away from the snow this winter after his recent revaluations, but despite his alleged misdemeanours, the Irishman is the Trotters’ key man.

His record this season is superb, with Murphy hitting six goals in just ten games since moving to the University of Bolton Stadium on deadline day, most notably grabbing a 93rd minute winner over MK Dons back in November.

Despite being remembered best for being out jumped by Shaun Wright-Phillips during his time on Wearside, it’s worth noting that Murphy performed a pivotal role in our promotion under Roy Keane, and thus has continued to be a reliable goalscorer for no less than three Championship clubs since his departure almost a decade ago.

He also got the winner last time he played at the Stadium of Light...

Thibaut Verlinden

19/20 Goals/Games: 14/2

The on loan Belgian winger has been a revelation at Bolton since moving from Stoke City and, with his loan up in January, will want to impress to make sure he earns a deal till season end.

As those who were at the reverse fixture in September will testify, Verlinden is capable of playing anywhere across the midfield, and is full of pace, vigour and desire, with an ability to turn defenders inside out. He tortured Denver Hume in our last match and will be looking to further impress with his immediate future still to be decided.

After a frustrating four years at the Britannia (alright, alright the bet365 Stadium), Verlinden marked his arrival in Greater Manchester by scoring a well-worked corner just four minutes into his debut, and has been getting Trotters fan off their seats all season.

Joseph Dodoo

19/20 Goals/Games: 11/2

The 24-year-old had his contract mutually terminated at Scottish giants Rangers on deadline and was brought as part of to rebuild to the Wanderers squad after they almost went bust in August.

The former Leicester City trainee has had a difficult few years, struggling to make any sort of mark on the Rangers squad, after failing to impress Pedro Caixinha and, latterly, Steven Gerrard at Ibrox once Mark Warburton, the man who brought him to Scotland, had departed.

However, after a few unsuccessful loan spells, Dodoo appears to be revelling in having a permanent home, and has gradually improved with each game as he gets us to match fitness. He scored his second goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Southend United and will be looking to add to his tally this Boxing Day.

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