Meet the opposition: Bolton

6th November 2018
First team

​​​​​​​As Swansea City get set to face Bolton Wanderers on Saturday (3pm), we take a closer look at the men from the University of Bolton Stadium.

Who are they?

Bolton were an established Premier League club until an 11-year stint in the top flight came to an end when they were relegated in 2011-12.

They finished seventh in their first campaign back in the second tier, but were relegated to League One in 2016.

They bounced back at the first time of asking before avoiding relegation in dramatic fashion last season, as two goals in the last three minutes on the final day saw them beat Nottingham Forest to stay up.

Bolton have spent 73 seasons in the top flight overall, while they have won the FA Cup on four occasions – although the last was in 1958.

They reached the last 16 of the Uefa Cup in the 2007-08 season, eventually being knocked out by Portuguese side Sporting.

 

How’s their form?

Bolton are struggling for form at present, having taken just one point from their last six games.

Their last win, against Derby in September, was their only success in 12 games.

They have lost at home this season to Sheffield United, QPR, Blackburn, Nottingham Forest and Hull, while there have been away losses at Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.

Bolton’s recent form has been in stark contrast to the opening weeks of the season, when they took 10 points from their first four games thanks to victories over West Brom, Reading and Birmingham and a draw with Bristol City.

 

Who’s their boss?

Phil Parkinson. Former midfielder Parkinson was appointed Bolton manager in 2016 following their relegation to League One and the subsequent departure of Neil Lennon.

Parkinson racked up more than 500 games in his 18-year playing career, during which he turned out for Bury and Reading after coming through the ranks at Southampton.

He began life as a manager at Colchester United in 2003, and led the Essex club to an unlikely promotion from League One in his second season in charge.

He has since had spells at Hull, Charlton and Bradford, who he steered all the way to the Capital One Cup final in 2012-13 only to be beaten by the Swans at Wembley.

Parkinson won promotion from League One in his first season at Bolton before keeping them up on the last day of last term.

 

Who are the key men?

One-time England Under-21 keeper Ben Alnwick has been a steady performer between the sticks at the University of Bolton Stadium, missing only two league games so far.

Skipper David Wheater, who played for Bolton in the Premier League, is likely to line up in central defence.

He could be joined by Jack Hobbs or Mark Beevers and Jack Hobbs, while former Cardiff man Andrew Taylor could start at left-back.

Long-serving midfielder Jason Lowe has appeared in all of Bolton’s Championship fixtures so far this season.

Another ex-Cardiff man, Craig Noone, and the much-travelled Will Buckley could start on the flanks, with the player once dubbed the lower-league Messi, Erhun Oztumer, a possible starter at No. 10.

Targetmen Clayton Donaldson and four-goal top scorer Josh Magennis – another Cardiff old boy – are likely to fight it out to lead the line.