Preview: Brentford v Bolton
After Cup elimination last weekend, it`s back to the league, and concentration will now be solely on the league until the end of the season. It`s a first away trip in 2018 for Wanderers and the destination is West London as we take on Brentford. When we both met at the end of September neither of us were doing well, that day the Bees won 3-0 and left us wondering if we`d even win a game this season. Since then, both of us kicked on, and we even won on our travels last time out.
"When we played them earlier in the season we had a great 20 minutes and should have taken the lead but in the end they scored three fantastic goals. I`ve got the utmost respect for Brentford and I think we`ve got to go there with the same attitude we had at Sheffield United. We have got to fight hard."
Phil Parkinson in the Bolton News.
Brentford Team News:
John Egan is still waiting to be given the all-clear after suffering concussion before Christmas and won`t feature tomorrow. Henrik Dalsgaard (heel), Rico Henry (cruciate), Justin Shaibu (hamstring) and Alan Judge (fit again but a managed recovery from a long-term injury) are all seemingly out. Lewis Mcleod will be available despite a hamstring injury picked up playing for the B team this week.
Player to watch: Romaine Sawyers
A decent end to 2017 saw Sawyers amongst the nominations for the December Player of the Month award, eventually losing out to Derby keeper Scott Carson. He had two goals and three assists in that month, as well as being the best player on the park in their Boxing Day win over Aston Villa.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Midfield is the big dilemma for Phil Parkinson. Karl Henry and Darren Pratley are injured, so whether new signing Harry Charsley goes straight in (signing yet to be announced at the time of writing) with Josh Vela and Derik partnering behind him is the question. Josh Cullen and Reece Burke played for West Ham this weekend, so if they do go back out on loan, they can only return to us. Gary Madine should return, unless we are selling him, while the back four should be unchanged from last weekend, with Ben Alnwick returning in goal.
Player to watch: Harry Charsley
Phil Parkinson has confirmed he`ll go straight into the squad, and given our options he might well even start. Who is he then? He`s an Irish Under-21 international on loan from Everton. He played for the senior team last month, playing at left-back in their dead rubber Europa League game against Apollon Limassol. He looked lively and had a shot on target. He usually plays in central midfield though, and while I`ll wait to be proven whether he has the quality or not, he can play behind the striker which is something I think we can really benefit from.
Match Facts & Stats
The reverse fixture against Brentford was back in September. Both teams were winless in the league at the time, Brentford would be the ones to get off the mark, with a 3-0 victory.
Our last visit to Griffin Park was in April 2016, when we lost 3-1 and the 'We`re going to Shrewsbury` song was a thing.
Bolton have won one of their last five away games, we all know that though. In the league, Brentford have won three of their last five at home, and are unbeaten at Griffin Park since the first game of the season, when they lost 4-3 to Nottingham Forest.
Bolton last won back-to-back Championship away games in April 2014, when we beat Huddersfield and Doncaster in the space of four days.
Brentford`s a tough place to go, we`re making changes in midfield, I think we`ll lose this 2-0. I said we`d lose at Bramall Lane though…
We play Ipswich next Saturday, then we may play Cardiff if they don`t win their FA Cup replay. Otherwise our next game after that may be Bristol City at home on 2nd February