Bolton fans trundling up the M62 to the game at Huddersfield today, may find themselves in surroundings that look familiar, for the much re-named John Smith’s Stadium bears a striking resemblance to the Reebok with its curly roof and overhead metal structure holding the place together.
The similarities don’t stop there. The 1920s was a golden period for the Wanderers with three FA Cup wins. The same applies to Huddersfield who secured three successive league championships – a feat that has never been bettered.
The two clubs have notable individuals in common as well. Former Whites goal hero Frank Worthington started his career at the Yorkshire outfit and manager Ian Greaves moved across the Pennines to join Bolton, taking them into top flight football for the first time in a generation.
The home side currently lie in 16th position in the Championship, one place and one point above the visitors. On current form, Bolton may just start as favourites giving the Whites a chance to move up from 17th place where they’ve been superglued for most of the season. Huddersfield thumped Barnsley on March 1st, but haven’t won since. Even so, striker Nahki Wells has scored three times in his last four outings, a fact that has eluded Dougie Freedman.
“The boy Wells has not really hit the ground running,” he said. It might be worth putting a crafty fiver on the former Bradford City man to find the net first.
The week saw a brace of feeble April fools stories. A hint: If the reader can’t get past the title before realising it’s a spoof, you ain’t doing it right. But the story that ought to have been a fake, turned out not to be, with Freedman hinting that he might give Zat Knight a new contract, although the Wanderers boss couldn’t do it without throwing in a couple of snide remarks.
“Big Zat Knight is playing the best football I have ever seen him play and he’s fighting for the cause – whatever that might be, he’s fighting for it,” he told The Bolton News.
“If that’s the way it’s going to go I’ll be giving Zat six-week contracts from now on because he’s been outstanding.”
At roughly the same time, midfielder Chris Eagles, turned down loan moves to Charlton and Ipswich. This is the same player who Freedman claimed he was going to build his side around not that long ago.
It’s been announced that the Whites have no injury problems going into this fixture, but that was said last week and it wasn’t true, so wait for the team sheet. Lukas Jutkiewicz, Joe Mason and Jermaine Beckford have all drawn praise from the Dougie this week, so they may have been left at home, judging by previous behaviour.
Around 2,000 Whites supporters will be making the journey, a sterling effort for what is a dead rubber. But that’s been the case all season. Three points would be a fitting reward for that loyalty in what has been a dull campaign.
– Richard McCormick