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Derby Day: A renewed Greater Manchester rivalry

16 October 2021

Contested for just shy of four decades, Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers’ long-standing rivalry has stood the test of time.

From League outings to Cup ties and friendly fixtures, Latics and Wanderers supporters relish every encounter.

The teams involved

Approximately eight short miles separate the DW Stadium and the University of Bolton Stadium – the two home grounds of Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers. However, the ongoing rivalry between Wigan and Bolton is cited by both sets of supporters as one of the two Clubs’ main rivalries, dating back to 1983.

Club connections

Latics boss Leam Richardson is no stranger to the Wanderers faithful, having made himself known to Bolton fans 20 years ago when he made his debut for the Club. The now-41-year-old departed Blackburn Rovers for Bolton in 2000 and had a hand in Bolton’s return to the Premier League, beating Preston North End in the Championship Play-Off Final in 2000/01.

Between the sticks for Wigan, Ben Amos turned out for Bolton nine times during a short loan spell in 2014/15. The Macclesfield-born goalkeeper was then snapped up by Bolton following his release from Manchester United.

Player-turned-goalkeeping coach Matthew Gilks has had a foot in both camps, having been named as Bolton’s new goalkeeping coach last year. The experienced shot-stopper, who is now a part of Ian Evatt’s backroom staff, has enjoyed a long and fruitful career, which included a brief stint at the DW Stadium in 2017.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old George Johnston was loaned out to Wigan during the 2021 transfer window from parent club Feyenoord before making the permanent switch to Greater Manchester with Bolton in the summer.

Bolton assistant manager Peter Atherton also cut his teeth at Wigan in 1988, chalking up over 100 appearances for the Club during a three-year period. The former defender followed Evatt to Bolton in July 2020, currently acting as the Wanderers’ boss’ number two.

Last time out

With a full capacity away following in tow, the two teams traded punches in Round Two of the Carabao Cup at Wigan’s DW Stadium in August, when the two teams decided the tie on spot-kicks. And it was the Latics that booked their place in Round Three, edging Bolton 5-4 on penalties.

Wigan and Bolton last met on competitive grounds in the League in March 2019 in the Championship when the two teams duelled in a seven-goal thriller, which saw all three points remain at the DW Stadium as the Latics – who have put 10 goals past Wanderers in their last two encounters - cruised to a 5-2 win.

And Wigan emerged victorious once more when the local rivals came face-to-face friendly fixture in August 2020, ahead of the 2020/21 campaign. A Joe Garner hat-trick and a Callum McManaman strike were enough to seal a comfortable 5-1 win for hosts Wigan.

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