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Match Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - all you need to know ahead of kick-off!

The Lads are back on the road for a trip to the North-West and mid-table Bolton Wanderers. Here’s all the build-up ahead of kick-off.

Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Saturday 29th January 2022

(15th) Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland (2nd)

Sky Bet League One

University of Bolton Stadium

Kick-Off: 15:00


Tickets & Match Coverage

Tickets: Tickets are sold out for this fixture.

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com to residents outside the UK and Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man only.

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)

Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the full-time whistle at www.RokerReport.com!


The build-up...

After three League One fixtures without a victory, it was a relief as much as anything else to see The Lads grind out a win over Portsmouth last weekend via the only goal of the game.

January is always a strange month for football with the transfer window being open as well as the usual hangover from the packed festive schedule, and this one has been no different. Lee Johnson’s side lost a bit of the rhythm that we picked up during December, but the addition of Danny Batth, Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts will have no doubt have freshened the atmosphere on the training ground.

It was only a few weeks ago that COVID-19 protocols meant we were required to recall players who were out on loan to boost the ranks, but it’s nice that we’re second-guessing what the manager might go out with at Bolton this afternoon considering the number of options available to him.

Sunderland haven’t won at Bolton since Steve Bruce’s side emerged with a 2-0 victory in October 2011 with both goals coming in the last ten minutes, so it would be nice to put that right, and more importantly keep the pressure up on Wigan at the top and Rotherham who still lurk just behind with their games in hand.

Sunderland v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Exactly one year ago today, Bolton Wanderers were in a mess, sitting 19th in League Two. An incredible run of form in the second half of the season saw them finish third and promotion to League One.

Fast forward to the 2nd October and eleven fixtures into the current season, Ian Evatt’s side were 8th in League One and only four points behind ourselves who were second behind Wigan. Since then though, it’s gone a bit wrong, with a run of just two wins out of the next 13 fixtures in League One.

They now find themselves back down in 15th and as the past two games have stopped the rot, with two victories over Ipswich and Shrewsbury, there is an uncertainty over where their season goes from here.

They have been busy in the market so far this month, with the signings of Dion Charles from Accrington Stanley, Marlon Fossey on-loan from Fulham, Aaron Morley from Rochdale, keeper James Trafford from Manchester City and striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson on a free transfer from Millwall, who have all seemingly made a good early impression.

Looking over their shoulder, there is now only a five point gap between Wanderers and the drop, but because of the change in fortune last season there is a feeling of “who knows?” and another turnaround is on the cards. Today’s game against ourselves in front of an expected crowd of over 20,000 could be potentially be the springboard for just that.

Shrewsbury Town v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One
Ian Evatt
Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

League One Form...


The betting...

The bookies have The Lads as favourites at evens to take all three points, with Bolton and the draw priced at 5/2.

A 1-1 draw is the favourite scoreline at 5/1 with a 1-0 away win close behind at 13/2, followed by a 2-1 Sunderland win at 15/2. Bolton are priced 10/1 to take it 1-0 and 11/1 to win 2-1.


Head to head... at Bolton

(All competitions)

  • Sunderland wins: 16
  • Draws: 21
  • Bolton Wanderers wins: 38
  • Sunderland goals: 83
  • Bolton Wanderers goals: 126

Last time we met... at the University of Bolton Stadium

Saturday 21st September 2019

Sky Bet League One

Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Sunderland

[Hobbs 50’ - McGeady 90’ (pen)]

Sunderland: J. McLaughlin, O’Nien, Willis, Flanagan, Hume (C. McLaughlin), Gooch, Leadbitter (Power), Dobson, McGeady, Maguire (Wyke), Grigg Substitutes not used: Burge, Ozturk, McGeouch, Embleton

Bolton Wanderers: Matthews, Emmanuel, Chicksen, Bridcutt, Hobbs, Wright (Zouma), Politic, Lowe, Buckley, Crawford, Verlinden (Murphy) Substitutes not used: Alexander, Senior, Weir, Brown, Darcy

Bolton Wanderers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Leauge One
Aidan McGeady scores the last minute equaliser from the penalty spot the last time the two sides met in Bolton
Photo by Tim Markland/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Played for both...

Jason McAteer

Bolton Wanderers picked up Jason McAteer at 20-years of age from non-League Marine for £500 and a bag of balls in 1992. Over the next three years he kicked-on and as a result of his performance against Liverpool in the League Cup final, the Reds decided to part with £4.5 million to take him to Anfield that same year.

He spent four years on Merseyside, in a spell that saw 139 appearances for Liverpool including the 1996 FA Cup final defeat to Manchester United. In 1999, McAteer joined Brian Kidd’s Premier League strugglers Blackburn Rovers in a deal worth £4 million and a year later saw his £1 million move to the Stadium of Light at the age of 30.

McAteer spent three years on Wearside, making 61 appearances with 5 goals, that included appearances in both legs of a play-off semi-final and an FA Cup semi-final defeat to Millwall (where he received a red card). He was eventually released in 2004 and joined Tranmere Rovers before hanging up his boots in 2007.

FA CUP 5TH ROUND Soccer
Jason McAteer during his Bolton days
Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images

Gavin McCann

A youth product of the academy at Everton, Gavin McCann would make only 11 appearances for Everton after making his debut in 1995 before Peter Reid would get his signature for Sunderland in 1998 during a season that saw a record breaking promotion to the Premier League.

McCann would play a major part in the success of the Peter Reid side that went on the two successive 7th place finishes in the Premier League but when it all ended and we were relegated, he would join Aston Villa in the summer of 2003. McCann would spend four years in Birmingham that were littered with injury setbacks that would result in release from Villa Park and being picked up by Bolton Wanderers.

Injuries again would impact McCann’s time at the Reebok Stadium and he eventually retired in 2011. During 2018, Gavin McCann was coach of Bolton Wanderers U18s.

Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers - Premier League
Gavin McCann
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

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