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Blackpool boss: There are no guarantees at Bolton any longer

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Simon Grayson takes some satisfaction from the fact the mystery has been removed at Wanderers.

For several weeks Bolton were the whipping boys of League One, their team packed with untested youth teamers who had played in the club’s hour of need.

Keith Hill’s arrival, followed by a deluge of new signings, mean the prospect of facing the Whites is perhaps not as attractive as it might have been in August.

Wanderers still prop up the table by some distance but as Grayson brings his team to the UniBol looking to maintain a fine start to the campaign, he is not fooled by the strength or experience of the side he might face.

“At least we now know what personnel they have got and what they have been playing recently,” Grayson told the Blackpool Gazette.

“They’ve had some good results in the last few weeks with the better and stronger squad they’ve got.

“I said a few weeks ago it’s a strange position to be in where some clubs will be moaning it’s a guaranteed three points in the early part of the season.

“But other teams down the bottom will be saying they’re happy because it gives them more of a fighting chance to stay in the division with Bolton not picking up points.

“But it’s about how they’re doing now and we know they’ve got some experienced players.

“Daryl Murphy, Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley and Jack Hobbs are all experienced players in the Championship.

“They played well against Portsmouth last weekend and Sunderland the game before.”

Blackpool will be without key midfielder Jordan Thompson after the club were unable to negotiate his temporary release from international duty with Northern Ireland.

Belgium Under-21 defender Rocky Bushiri is also unavailable, which will leave the Seasiders boss with some decisions to make on his line-up.

Mark Howard, the former Bolton keeper, will not be considered for selection despite making a comeback from injury in the reserves in midweek. The 33-year-old had been out of action since the end of last season with a ruptured Achilles.

Blackpool’s midfield is anchored by Jay Spearing, who played more than 170 times for the club over four seasons and helped them to promotion from League One in 2016/17 alongside Howard.

And another connection between the two clubs can be found in Liam Feeney, who has been employed as a right wing-back by Grayson in recent weeks.

Feeney’s form has improved dramatically his season and the Blackpool boss reckons the number of assists – two of which came against Lincoln City in their previous outing – is proof of his worth to the side.

“You can’t really question his contribution to the team,” Grayson said.

“He’s had a fantastic career at a good level but his hunger, his desire and his work-rate is still there to see.”

Feeney is looking forward to his return, echoing his manager's sentiment that Bolton will be a different prospect than they were at the start of the season.

“It’s a bit strange but I’ve already played against them once or twice before. It’s been a while so it will be nice to go back," Feeney said.

“It’s a lovely stadium but we’re in good form so it would be nice to go back and get a positive result.

“It’s been well documented the problems that have gone on at Bolton over the last two or three years.

“But they’ve got a new squad now and they’re a different proposition for every team that faces them.

“They had some difficult games earlier in the season with their results, but that’s probably going to stop now and they’re going to be looking for an upturn, so we expect a difficult game.

“I think it’s going to be difficult. They’ll have the crowd behind them and they’ve got the new manager and the new players who are all looking to play for a position and show what they can do.

“We’ve just got to make sure we go there and show our qualities and hopefully we can get the result.”



Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

I'd completely forgotten about Mark Howard, i had to google him. Feeney always divided opinion with Bolton fans. Personally i always thought he was decent and always put a good shift in but he is a typical winger, great one week and rubbish the next,


Guðni Bergsson
Guðni Bergsson

Lets hope he's rubbish tonight

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