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Match Previews

npower Championship midweek preview

21 August 2012


Bolton Wanderers will play their first home match in the npower Championship for over a decade on Tuesday evening when they take on Derby County.

Owen Coyle's men had been top flight mainstays since winning promotion in 2001 but dropped out at the end of last season so go into the 2012/13 Championship campaign with the intention of bouncing straight back again.

The promotion bid got off to a disappointing start on Saturday with a 2-0 defeat at local rivals Burnley, Coyle's former club, and now the Scot is calling on his players to react in a positive way.

He told "We need a big positive reaction to our second half performance on Saturday. We have to be ready for how tough and demanding the Championship is and ready for how hard teams work. If we match that, then we believe we have enough quality to win these games.

"Derby are a good side with some terrific players, as they've shown in the opening games of the season. They've scored a lot of goals, in the cup tie against Scunthorpe and the weekend's game against Sheffield Wednesday.

"We have to make sure we're ready for the challenge they pose, but equally, that we're ready to impose ourselves. If we do that, it's a game I'm convinced we can win."

Bolton are without Stuart Holden and David Wheater, while they have a concern over striker David Ngog who missed the defeat at Burnley.

Derby kicked their season off at home to Sheffield Wednesday and let slip a two-goal lead to only collect a draw, just a few days after their Capital One Cup game against Scunthorpe United that Coyle referenced - where the Rams led 3-0, 4-1 and 5-3 before drawing 5-5 and going out on penalties.

Manager Nigel Clough has been active in the transfer market since Saturday, bringing in Wigan Athletic striker Conor Sammon for an undisclosed fee while also selling Steven Davies to Bristol City.

Clough told "Bolton will be very dangerous opponents, there's no doubt about that. There will be an element of a backlash about their side, not only from Saturday's game at Burnley but also coming down from the Premier League.

"Having come down, they will want to set the tone for the season and home so it's down to us to deny them that and try and get something from the game. What we want from our lads is the same as we have been getting; go and play with no fear and keep being positive.

"Our biggest strength is the way we pass the ball and attack, so there's no need to step doing that but we just need to be aware we must make better decisions late on in games."

Derby are without James Bailey and Mark O'Brien to minor knocks, while club captain Shaun Barker is out for the season with a serious knee injury.


Two of the npower Football League's most quotable managers come head-to-head at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday night as Ian Holloway's Blackpool host Neil Warnock's Leeds United.

Any verbal sparring between the two would undoubtedly be entertaining but both bosses will have their minds firmly focused on what happens on the pitch as they both bid to build on opening-day victories for their teams.

Blackpool travelled to South London and came away from Millwall with an excellent 2-0 victory while Leeds were in action in front of their own fans as they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0.

Holloway told Tangerine Player: "If you listen to the bookies we're not even in the top six again and what are they [Leeds], third? Good luck to them and let them carry that and let's see what we do.

"That's what it's all about for me. I know how I feel about things, I know what I'm trying to do, and Neil will be in his own situation and good luck to Leeds but not tomorrow night.

"That's all I'd like to say. What people think and what people say, they'll either be right or wrong and we can't prove that in one match or two matches. Unfortunately it takes 46."

Warnock is embarking on his first full season in charge at Leeds having taken over at Elland Road in February this year.

And with an excellent track record of taking clubs to promotion, Warnock has already expressed his belief that the Yorkshire club can be in the shake-up for a Premier League place come the end of 2012/13.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post ahead of tonight's game: "We know what we're in for. Ollie [Ian Holloway] has a good side and the lad Ince [Tom Ince] was brilliant on Saturday and they deserved to win.

"They have Ince and [Matt] Phillips and [Gary] Taylor-Fletcher, who is an innocuous player, but a very good one. You don't notice him, but he's always there. They have enough armoury, but we have as well.

"At their place, it's going to be difficult, but we're going to take a great following again and I'm looking forward to it."

Leeds have an injury concern over midfielder Paul Green, who could be out for several weeks with a knee problem picked up on Saturday.


Just as Bolton Wanderers are beginning life outside the Premier League for the first time in over a decade, so are Blackburn Rovers who play their first home game of the npower Championship season at home to Hull City in Wednesday night's only game.

Steve Kean's men picked up a 1-1 draw away to Ipswich Town on Saturday and they will be looking to turn one point into three at Ewood Park against Steve Bruce's Tigers, who head to Blackburn following their 1-0 win at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

Burnley and Leicester City - following Blackpool - were the other sides to win their opening games 2-0, at home to Bolton Wanderers and Peterborough United respectively.

Both sides are on the road on Tuesday night as they look to build on their starts with Burnley travelling to Middlesbrough, who were beaten 1-0 at Barnsley, while Leicester are Charlton Athletic's first home opponents back in the Championship - the Addicks having drawn 1-1 at Birmingham City.

Barnsley, Watford, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff City are all looking to make it two wins from two in the second round of fixtures.

Following their win over Middlesbrough, Barnsley travel to face Wolverhampton Wanderers who will be aiming to bounce back from their defeat at Leeds United.

Nottingham Forest beat Bristol City 1-0 and now go to Huddersfield Town, who were Cardiff's victims on Friday night in the season's first game with the Bluebirds on the road to Brighton.

Gianfranco Zola's Watford, after their exciting 3-2 win at Crystal Palace, are at home to Paul Jewell's Ipswich.

Hillsborough hosts a battle between two sides who came from behind to draw on the opening day as Sheffield Wednesday take on Birmingham City, while the remaining two fixtures are between teams who lost their first fixtures.

Bristol City are at home to Crystal Palace while Peterborough United host Millwall.

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