18/19 Games/Goals: 0/0
One of four former Black Cats in the Trotters ranks, former striker Daryl Murphy, is in line to make his debut against us this afternoon.
Murphy has a great goal scoring record at Championship level and, despite reaching his thirty-sixth birthday recently, will likely be a handful at this level, alongside fellow former Wearsiders Liam Bridcutt and Will Buckley.
It would be peak Sunderland for Murphy to notch his first Bolton goal this weekend wouldn’t it? Let’s not forget his oh-so-inevitable 85th-minute winner for Nottingham Forest at the Stadium of Light a little over eighteen months ago.
Strong, mobile and with a knack for knowing where the net is, he may be a figure of derision at the Stadium of Light, but the Irishman has consistently scored goals wherever he has been.
18/19 Games/Goals: 2/1
The first of nine Bolton signings made on deadline day, Verlinden, who was previously viewed as one of the hottest properties on the continent, will be hoping to kick start his career at Keith Hill’s new look Bolton Wanderers following his loan move from Stoke City.
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 last weekend, and was once again Bolton’s best player in the midweek draw with Oxford United.
Capable of playing anywhere across the midfield, the 20-year-old is full of pace, vigour and desire. He likes to run at defenders and beat them, so will be a challenge for Sunderland right back Luke O’Nien.
18/19 Games/Goals: 2/0
It’s been quite a fall from grace for Bridcutt since he morphed into Sergio Busquets one afternoon at St. James in early 2014.
After being bizarrely frozen out at Nottingham Forest for the last year, our former midfielder was another deadline day signing for Bolton Wanderers and has immediately been installed as skipper at the Macron.
Despite a difficult few years, the anchorman is determined to make up for lost time. On his move to the Macron Stadium, Bridcutt stated: “last year was difficult for me to take because I’d always been one of the first names on the team-sheet - now I am at Bolton, I want to show people why that was the case.”
If Bridcutt can reach the levels that saw him make the move to the Premier League, then there can be no doubt Sunderland’s midfield have a real battle on their hands today.