Andy Booth: All set for Bolton Wanderers’ visit

THE big games just keep coming don’t they?

THE big games just keep coming don’t they?

After playing Middlesbrough and Leeds, we have another intriguing contest in store when Bolton come to the stadium on Saturday.

The two of us haven’t met that often in recent years, but when I was coming through the ranks at Town, we were both in what was then Division II, and now League I.

I remember going to Burnden Park, Bolton’s original ground, on the first day of the 1992-93 season, when I was in the squad but didn’t feature in the game.

It was a big old-fashioned stadium, quite like our own Leeds Road but with a supermarket built into one of the ends, and it seemed to me that as clubs, we had a lot in common.

We both had proud histories and loyal supporters, but were finding it tough to compete with the bigger city clubs who had bigger budgets.

We both got new grounds in the years that followed, with Paul Fletcher going to help drive their project forward after doing the same job at Town.

Perhaps that explains why their stadium looks like ours but with the corners filled in!

If memory serves, Bolton were promoted to the Premier League as we were relegated to League I in 2000-01, the season I came back from Sheffield Wednesday.

Bolton established themselves as a competitive force in the top flight under Sam Allardyce and even got into Europe, but were unable to avoid the drop last season.

They found the going tough early on, and there was upheaval when Owen Coyle was replaced as manager by Dougie Freedman.

I remember Dougie in his playing days, when he was a very good striker, and from the evidence of what he did at Crystal Palace, he has the knack for management.

Perhaps it’s taken some of the Bolton players a while to adjust to the Championship, but they’re getting there now are will provide another real test for us.

They way football finances are, Bolton will be desperate to get back into the Premier League as soon as possible, but hopefully we can put the brakes on them.

I’d also like to remind our fans that it’s our Support Organ Donation game, when we urge as many supporters as possible to sign up with posters around the town and initiatives at the match.

It proved a big success last season and hopefully we can play our part in boosting numbers once again.

 
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