Bolton Wanderers Star Sends Out Strong Promotion Message

Having missed out on automatic promotion from the third tier, Bolton Wanderers will be looking to book their place in the Championship with a win over Oxford United in the League One Play-Off Final this Saturday.

Ian Evatt’s side would finish the season in third, picking up 87 points which wouldn’t quite be enough to pass the likes of Portsmouth and Derby County. It was slightly disappointing due to the fact that they were one of the favourites for the title, but promotion is the main goal and they could now be just 90 minutes away from achieving that.

Bolton will be the favourites due to their finishing position compared to that of Oxford’s. Des Buckingham’s side would finish in fifth and will be looking to upset the applecart when the two teams meet on Saturday. They’d grind out a win over the two legs against Peterborough United and are worthy of their place in the final.

This season’s meetings between the two teams further speaks in the Wanderers’ favour, winning 5-0 at the Toughsheet Community Stadium and drawing 0-0 at the Kassam. In a one-off final, anything can happen and that’s something that Evatt will no doubt be telling his players.

They’ll be some confidence in the Bolton camp and rightly so given how they finished the season. Their promotion chances were also boosted with the return of Dion Charles towards the end of the campaign after almost two months out with a knee injury.

The striker would score twice in the semi-final first leg against Barnsley, adding to his 14 goals during the regular season and will be looking to add to his tally on the big stage this weekend.

Speaking to The Bolton News, the Northern Ireland international previewed the final.

“For me it’s probably the biggest game of my life. We have worked tirelessly to put ourselves in this position and it’s every kid’s dream to go and play at Wembley.”

“We have had a long season, we didn’t quite do it automatically, but to do it on the big stage will top going up automatically, I think.

“Scoring at Wembley is the best feeling I have had in my career to date. There are quite a lot of us from that squad, we have played there before, we know the occasion, albeit this is a bigger one. But playing in front of the sort of crowd we did before, it can only help us.

“It’s one game and winner-takes-all. We can’t get too ahead of ourselves. We know it is going to be a tough game. They pose threats but likewise, so do we.

“It’s nice to know we are favourites but we won’t take anything for granted, we know they are a good team. On our day, we know we are very good as well.”

Writer’s View

Charles’ return to the matchday squad has been a huge boost for Bolton in recent weeks and he proved his worth with two goals in the first leg. He knows what it is like to score at Wembley having scored in last season’s EFL Trophy Final and will be looking to repeat that feat.

It’s a huge game for the future of the club as there could be quite the change if they’re unable to gain promotion. They won’t however be thinking about that, and will be confident of their promotion chances.

The striker has been instrumental in their success this season and has been the focal point of the attack for the majority. Everything points to another strong performance by the 28-year-old.


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