Ever since Owen Coyle left Burnley to join up with Bolton back in 2010, games between the two clubs’s have taken on extra significance. This will be the first time the two have met since Coyle was sacked by Bolton earlier this season but it’s unlikely to take any edge of the fixture, as it was already fierce enough due to the geographical location of the two. Bolton continue to slide further and further down the table and rather than challenging for promotion (as some shrewd judges predicted) they are instead battling for survival. With the size and quality of the squad of players available to manager Dougie Freedman it’s pretty unbelievable but the facts speak for themselves and the two crucial one’s for Bolton supporters are that they are only three points above the relegation zone and they have won only eight games all season, including just one victory in their last seven.
Burnley’s climb up the table has been somewhat of a surprise considering their innocuous start to the season. Eddie Howe moved back to Bournemouth and his position was taken by the former Watford manager Sean Dyche. He had an instant impact and his new side surged up the Championship with an impressive run of form which seen them win four out of five games conceding just one in the process (coming against Leicester in their sole defeat). They are in seventh position at this moment in time, four points behind an out of form Middlesbrough and the prospect of a play-off position is very real, especially with the firepower they have in the shape of Charlie Austin who has stepped up to the plate after the sale of Jay Rodriguez in the summer. Austin is the Championship’s second top scorer with 20 goals to his name.
It doesn’t take long to figure out one of the reasons as to why Bolton are struggling at the wrong end of the league when you look through their squad list. Despite their plethora of attacking options not one player has managed double figures in terms of goals. It has led to Freedman bringing in Steve De Ridder from Southampton and Craig Davies from Barnsley in an attempt to turn things around, at that end of the pitch at least.
Burnley are looking to do the double over Bolton after their opening day success at Turf Moor. That matched ended 2-0 for the home side and a repeat of that would not only earn them the bragging rights but it would also heap more pressure on ‘Boro in the race for the playoffs. If they did succeed then it would not only be great for the club but also on a personal level for their manager after he was let go by Watford in the pre-season.
I would make Burnley slight favourites on their recent form and taking into account the fact they’re away from home but I’m always wary of backing against Bolton because they could so easily turn in a big performance. Instead, there is enough firepower on show to suggest that there will be goals in this as both sides need the points.
Over 2.5 goals 5/6 @ BetVictor