Preview: The uncertainty derby '“ Spireites fans can compare notes with Bolton supporters

On Saturday Chesterfield fans will be able to compare notes with another set of supporters who are worried about the future of their club.

Thursday, 15th December 2016, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 15th December 2016, 11:22 am
Gary Madine beats Joel Lynch to a high ball. Bolton Wanderers v Huddersfield Town. SkyBet Championship. 1 January 2016. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Bolton Wanderers fans have been through the wringer in 2016, just like the Spireites faithful.

But unlike Town fans, Bolton’s travelling army look likely to be celebrating a return to the Championship come the end of the season.

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Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United. United's Souleymane Doukara battles with Bolton's Josh Vela. 30th January 2016. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

Marc Iles is chief football writer at The Bolton News and says Wanderers are largely meeting expectations on the pitch this term.

“Wanderers are showing exactly the kind of traits you’d expect from a Phil Parkinson side - organised, solid at the back, hard-working, but I think he’s perhaps got a touch of quality in the attacking areas that he maybe lacked at Bradford City,” he said.

“He has also got a good budget, and though the club is still hamstrung on a transfer embargo, he has signed players who would have been out of his reach at Valley Parade.”

Bolton, who sit second in League One after Monday night’s 4-0 thrashing of Gillingham, possess the division’s best defensive record both home and away this season.

Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United. United's Souleymane Doukara battles with Bolton's Josh Vela. 30th January 2016. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

But they also have a number of attacking players in form ahead of their visit to the Proact, where Chesterfield have the second worst defensive record in the league.

Iles said: “Home-grown striker Zach Clough is in a good vein of scoring form for Wanderers and is great to watch on the ball.

“Likewise, Sammy Ameobi playing off the right side can be unplayable.

“Josh Vela - who plays between the two wingers in a 4-2-3-1 - is probably the man in top form at the moment. His energy is incredible and he also has an eye for goal.

“Wanderers play direct, with Gary Madine offering a platform for Ameobi, Vela and Clough to play off.

“The defensive unit is powerful and there is plenty of height at the back, so Bolton are also quite dangerous at set pieces.”

It’s off the pitch that Wanderers have suffered the most this year and some wounds have not yet healed.

“It is fair to say 2016 has been an ordeal for most Bolton fans,” he said.

“Relegation to League One was actually the easiest thing to stomach - but when the future of the club itself was up for debate earlier in the year, with four visits to the High Court over a winding up petition, you can understand why there is still some scarring.

“The current ownership has not seen eye to eye and in the last fortnight a few stories have emerged which have concerned the fans. We hope there will be a quick resolution.”

Likely line-up (4-2-3-1): Alnwick; Wilson, Wheater, Beevers, A Taylor; Spearing, Derik; Ameobi, Vela, Clough; Madine.