Monday 7 October: 8pm KO
Live on Sky Sports
Do you know what the best thing by far is about this League One clash between Bolton and Blackpool? It’s nothing to do with the skill that is going to be shown on the pitch, it’s the mere fact that this game is taking place at all. Bolton survived to fight another day and although relegation looks likely, at least they have a club, Bury don’t.
It’s been a rough few seasons for both of these clubs. What’s been happening on the pitch has nearly always been overshadowed by their off-field problems. Bolton have had massive financial problems, while Blackpool fans have done all they could to oust the Oystons.
Bolton so nearly went out of business earlier this season. They’d been struggling financially for a while, that’s often what happens after relegation from the Premier League. Last season saw them suffer another relegation as they went down to League One. Even worse, they were given a 12 points deduction. It’s so kind to hit clubs when they’re down. Just before a deadline that could have seen them expelled from the Football League, a new owner was announced but the problems on the pitch continue.
Starting on -12 points was bad enough but Bolton began the season with barely any senior players. That meant fielding inexperienced youngsters and the heavy defeats began. At one stage this season, they conceded at least five goal in five out of six league and cup games. After nine league games, Bolton are still only on -9 points and 18 points from safety, virtually 19 because of their -23 goal difference.
Can you imagine the celebration there’ll be when they finally get to no points? Perhaps they’ll beat Blackpool and get to -6. The odds on them doing that are 16/5 (4.2) at Paddy Power.
Since the squad has been strengthened, the heavy losses have ended. The last three league games have produced a couple of draws and only two goals conceded. Those clubs who have to now play Bolton’s stronger line-up aren’t likely to be too happy considering others have had to play a virtual youth team and came away with big wins.
Scoring is still a big problem though with only two in nine league games. Five of their last six league and cup games have had under 2.5 goals scored in them. There are odds of 1/1 (2.0) at Unibet on that happening against Blackpool.
The visitors are fifth in League One and a win at Bolton will take them to within a point of the automatic promotion places. They can be backed at odds of 8/11 (1.72) to win this match if you place your bet at William Hill.
With the backroom problems seemingly solved, Blackpool can now concentrate on what’s happening on the pitch. Fans no longer boycott games and they will be delighted at how their club has played this season.
Blackpool have won five, drawn four and lost two of their 11 league games this season. They were unbeaten in their first four league games of the season and then went four without a win. Form has improved again though with two wins and a draw from their last three games, including four points from the last two away games. They will be hoping for three points from this game with their opponents still struggling. You won’t be struggling if heading over to the Betbull site where there is a whole new way of gambling.
Blackpool have only won one of their last nine games against Bolton Wanderers. There have been a fair few draws though with seven of the previous meetings ending all square. You can get 3/1 (4.0) at Betfred on Monday’s game being drawn.
Bolton’s team is gradually being strengthened. New signing Joseph Dodoo may make his debut for them against the side he was on loan with last season. Daryl Murphy may be fit to play but there are injury doubts over Chris O’Grady and Jake Wright.
Blackpool have the third best away record in League One with only one loss in six games. That was at Coventry City who are fourth in the table. They are back in decent form and a bet on them winning this match with over 1.5 goals in the match has odds of 6/5 (2.2) at Ladbrokes.