Bolton Wanderers Receive Huge Promotion Boost

Bolton Wanderers have received a huge boost in their quest for promotion following the news that key duo Nathan Baxter and Dion Charles are set to return to action.

The Trotters have lost ground on the top two in recent weeks, although yesterday’s 5-2 win over Reading moved them to within three points of second-placed Derby County. The Rams travel to league leaders Portsmouth tonight hoping to give themselves more breathing space, although they face a battle against a team who are currently on a 13-game unbeaten run.

Bolton have had their fair share of injury problems over the last couple of months. This has coincided with a dramatic change in fortunes, having been three points off the top with three games in hand at the end of January.

They lost goalkeeper Baxter to a wrist injury in February and then had to contend with talisman Charles picking up a knee complaint a couple of weeks later against Wycombe Wanderers. The absence of both players has played a huge part in them falling off the pace, especially at the defensive end of the field. Joel Coleman has replaced their number one over the past 13 fixtures, conceding 18 goals, a big increase on the 27 in 28 shipped by his colleague before him.

As for Charles, yesterday’s victory was only their fourth in 11 games since his admission to the treatment room. Manager Ian Evatt has been vocal about his side’s injury issues, and was delighted to finally share some positive news:

“Dion is very, very late stage of rehab,” he told The Bolton News. “We are extremely hopeful that he will be available on Saturday (against Bristol Rovers). The same with Nathan Baxter, I think he will be available for Saturday.

The pair aren’t the only players due back imminently. Fellow attacker Dan Nlundulu is also back in full training, whereas a host of other first team stars are set to follow:

“Dan Nlundulu is back full training so he won’t be far away. Victor (Adeboyejo) is doing really well and improving all the time.

“Obviously, Randell (Williams) was back in the squad and Caleb Taylor is back in full training again. We are talking about five or six bodies who will potentially be back for Bristol Rovers or just after.”

Bolton have five games left to try and sneak back into the automatic promotion places. Following their trip to Bristol Rovers, they host Portsmouth at the Toughsheet Community Stadium.

Writer’s View

Ian Evatt has been criticised for using his squad’s injury issues as an excuse. However, he does have a point and he has had to contend with a number of his key stars being missing all at once.

It’s a huge boost to have the majority of them returning over the next few days, although it could prove to be too late. Should Derby pick up three points at Fratton Park tonight, they will have a six-point cushion with only four games remaining. Bolton will have a game in hand, but are likely to drop points themselves in the run-in. The play-offs beckon, but a fully fit squad will make them the favourites to secure a spot in the Championship.


About Jamie Ward 519 Articles
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