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Championship Preview: Bolton

After dropping down to League One, the Trotters are back in the Championship

Oxford United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

After a year away from the Championship, Bolton Wanderers are back after a very successful time in League One.

The last time Bolton played in the Championship, 2015/16, was a rough one as the Trotters finished dead last with a record of 5 wins, 15 draws, and 26 losses. However, their one season in League One was a complete turnaround, as they finished the season with 25 wins, 11 draws, and 10 losses to finish second place and earn automatic promotion. Bolton had a four-way tie for last seasons goal scoring record, with center-mid Josh Vela, centre-forward Gary Madine, striker Zach Clough, and centre-back David Wheater all bagging in 9 goals. Across all competitions, Vela and Madine each scored once during the FA Cup to bring their total tally for last season to 10 goals each.

However, Zach Clough, who was linked with Leeds United, was sold on to Nottingham Forest for £2.5-£3million. Friendly reminder here that the Whites were linked to Zach Clough and Sergi Canós, and ended up signing Alfonso Pedraza and Modou Barrow.

Oxford United v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet League One
Josh Vela was a big part of Bolton’s attack last season
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

In the two meetings between Leeds and Bolton in 2015/16 Leeds were able to take 4 points out of 6 against the Trotters. On October 24th, Leeds and Bolton played out a 1-1 draw, with Shola Ameobi scoring in the 32’ minute and Mirco Antenucci netting a 71’ minute penalty to bring the score 1-1. It was the highest attendance of the season at the Macron Stadium. Later on in the season, Leeds earned a 2-1 victory at Elland Road, with Antenucci netting a brace before Kaiyne Woolery got one back for Bolton.

Will Bolton pose a threat to Leeds this upcoming season? I wouldn’t think so. However, this team does have a knack for losing games they should win down the wire, so if at the end of the season Bolton emerges as 1-0 winners, it wouldn’t entirely surprise me.

Bolton will have to have a good summer if they want to compete in the Championship. Sammy Ameobi made 20 appearances for the Trotters last season before being recalled to Newcastle, who have recently released the winger. Ameobi played well for Bolton, so a return to the club should be something to look into. Bersant Celina, who is another player linked with Leeds United, has publicly stated that Bolton are interested in him, and securing a deal for the Kosovo International can go a long way in terms of their success this upcoming season. Josh Vela will look to build off a successful campaign as will Jay Spearing, who captained the Trotters during Darren Pratley’s injury. Lastly, David Wheater was Bolton’s Player of the Year and will look to have another stellar season.

How do you see Bolton’s season playing out? Let us know in the comments below. MOT