Match Preview | Bolton Wanderers v Argyle
Argyle’s first away trip of 2023 sees the Pilgrims head to the University of Bolton Stadium to face Bolton Wanderers.
The Trotters are fifth in Sky Bet League One, with 40 points from 24 games this season. At home, they have won seven, drawn three and lost two, with those defeats coming against Sheffield Wednesday and Oxford United.
Most recently, Bolton won 3-0 away to Barnsley, following draws against Derby County and Lincoln City. Wanderers are a low-scoring side: their tally of 30 goals from their 24 games is fewer than, for example, Burton Albion, who are 21st. However, Bolton do not let many in, either. Their tally of 20 conceded is bettered only by Sheffield Wednesday (18) and Derby County (17).
Earlier this season, Argyle beat Bolton 2-0 at Home Park. Niall Ennis put the Pilgrims in front in the 34th minute, with Ryan Hardie sealing the game with two minutes remaining. Argyle have won the last four games between the sides, winning both league games last season, and emerging victorious in the Emirates FA Cup in 2019/20. Prior to that, the last time the sides met was in January 1993, when Bolton won 3-1.
Bolton are managed by Ian Evatt. Perhaps best known for playing for Blackpool and Chesterfield in a 19-year career as a professional, Evatt’s first managerial job came at Barrow, where he gained promotion to the EFL. He joined Bolton, then of Sky Bet League Two, in July 2020, and took them up at the first attempt, finishing third. The Trotters then came ninth in League One last season.
Bolton’s squad contains former Pilgrims Will Aimson and Gethin Jones. Will played 53 times for Argyle over two seasons at Home Park, from 2019 to 2021. Jones was a loanee at the end of the 2014/15 season, but his seven-game stint included the play-off semi-final of that campaign.
Dion Charles is Bolton’s top goalscorer this season, with 11 goals, eight of which have come in the league. Charles signed in last year’s January transfer window, having previously played for Accrington Stanley. Goalkeeper James Trafford, who is on loan from Manchester City, is an ever-present this season, having also spent the conclusion to last campaign with Wanderers.
“It’s going to be a really hard game. I remember last year was really hard, and decided on a set play. The game here was open – too open for our liking. They had some big chances; I remember Michael [Cooper] making a big save at an important time, before we killed the game off.
“They are one of the better sides in the division. They are hard to figure out, they pass the ball really well. It’s going to be a tough afternoon. We are expecting to go there and be up against it. There will be spells in the game where we have to defend well. There will be times where we can impose what we want to do on them, also.”
New signings Ben Waine, Saxon Earley and Callum Wright are all available to be picked in the squad. Finn Azaz trained on Thursday having been out injured for some time, but is unlikely to risked this soon.
This game is all-ticket for Argyle supporters, and tickets are no longer available.
A Strip for the Trip
Argyle will be wearing their third kit for this game.
The game will be covered on Argyle TV, with commentary from Charlie Price and former Argyle Women's captain Katie Middleton. Both will be on hand for a pre-match show which will be available for free on YouTube from 2pm.
Audio commentary of the game is available for £2.50 in the UK, and live video streaming is available for overseas supporters.