The smell of Ipswich will hopefully have dissipated from FCR by tomorrow, and the lighting and toilets repaired. The invoice is in the post Marcus. Cheers. All in good time to welcome Bolton Wanderers and their fan for a kick about. Will their manager tell him to fuck off though?
We’ll get it out there now, Bolton have got the worst away record in the league. They don’t win away, they don’t score goals away. Couple this with Norwich’s home record - even since Christmas - and there is a chance that the two sides will spontaneously combust on the pitch and leave nothing but 22 piles of dust, no goals and no points.
Bolton lie in 19th position in the Championship, only four points outside the relegation zone and with a goal difference of -22. This is an improved situation from the start of the season, where they won only twice between August and the beginning of November. This run included eight consecutive defeats. Since then, the Trotters have begun to pick up points on a more regular basis, the catalyst being the team’s satisfying home win against Norwich City.
Wanderers come into the game at Carrow Road after picking up six points at home to Sunderland, a crucial win at this stage of the season. Prior to that, they lost two games against QPR and Cardiff, but did manage a 1-1 draw with form-team Fulham.
Phil Parkinson - part Geography teacher, part nice-guy-with-a-secret from Eastenders - is one of those managers who is popular, but you’re not sure why. He comes with a good reputation, but in reality has he ever really kicked on like he could have done? Keeping Bolton up this year, their first back in the Championship after a season in League One, will be his primary aim. But what next?
For all their struggles, Bolton have some attacking players who should pose a threat, even against the Greatest Championship Defence Ever (ours). Adam Le Fondre is the ultimate poacher, Zach Clough is highly-rated and 38-year old Aaron Wilbrahamovic even started against Sunderland. What a man.
This is a game, even after the trials and tribulations of IpsLOL and WoLOLves, that City are expected to win. But can they maintain the intensity of the last two games against the type of side who’ve caused them problems at home all season? ZW
In 2014, Bolton renamed the Reebok Stadium the Macron Stadium to show their support for French politician and legendary Wanderers supporter Emmanuel Macron. Macron, who has a Johan Elmander tattoo on his left hip and cites Sam Allardyce as his major political influence, has since become the youngest French President in history. Bolton believe that the election victory was in no small part down to the brand awareness created from their ground name switch.
ZW: It says a lot about our season that I’m more worried about this game than I was about either of the previous two. I just hope the team isn’t too tired, and that they can maintain their concentration and excellent form, especially in the second half of games. That said, we do need to win it, so I think we will, apart from if we draw and it’s really boring, which I’m not ruling out.
Zoë Assumes: Let’s do this, guys. Fully-paid-up members of the top half, here we come. Norwich City 2-0 Rodney Trotters.
RJ: Bolton? LOLton more like. These chancers haven’t got a prayer, who do they think they are coming down here and playing us at football? We will finally click like a well oiled machine on Saturday and trounce the trotters. It could be a cricket score. That’s right, in case you missed it I am confident we will win. #trouncethetrotters
Rich Reckons: Face tackles. I want to see face tackles. Nelson’s County 1 - The County With Nelson The Town (as well as some other towns including Bolton) in it 0.
CT: As wonderful as the last week has been I would appreciate a perfunctory win against Bolton, preferably with goals at calmer minutes such as 34 and 68; everyone in their seats, no-one hot footing it to the bar for half time or trotting off down Carrow Rud with their carrier bags.The last ten seconds will be dull, but we will have to cope. Maybe we could start a round of commemorative applause at 94 minutes 53 seconds instead.
King Timm might be missing, which would be less than pleasing-bulging those biceps must have caused a knock on effect in his hammy’s- but this team is #buzzing right now so let's take Bolton down.
Clare Calculates: I’m ignoring the fact Norwich have form for crashing down to earth from great heights with frustrating 1-0 home defeats to relegation fodder and predicting a professional, calm 2-0 win. And I want a bonus point if the other thing happens.
SW: Having gone wandering away to the Wanderers on Wednesday, the Wanderers will now come wandering our way. One certainly wonders whether the Wanderers and their cheeky Le Fondres can make Norwich squander their run of not-losing-in-a-fucking-yonder. Enough rhyming silliness because it’s time to get serious – it’s from here on the race begins. If we want to be in the mix, in that sacred top six, against Bolton we must be getting a win.
Seb Foresees: A Hanley header, a Gunny glove and a few MaddiSpins™ to send Bolton whirling. All the elements we’ve seen in parts but not in full, finally coming together in a big, spanking, great victory. Did I mention an Oliveira hattrick? Norwich City 3-0 Bolton Wanderers.