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Blackburn and Bolton in basement battle Championship clash

Go back a decade or so ago, and you’d find Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers occupying upwardly mobile Premier League status as both managed to finish in the top six. Fast forward back to the present, and they occupy two of the Championship’s bottom three places.

With the Trotters 2/1 second-favourites for relegation with Coral, they need a positive result on derby day at Ewood Park where all is not well.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Huddersfield Town v Blackburn Rovers - The John Smith's Stadium

Rovers boss Gary Bowyer has survived rumours of the sack, and is 9/4 to steer his side to victory in a match that contains over 2.5 goals. Punters can stake a maximum of £20 on this matchday special.

Recent history in this fixture favours the home team, with whoever gets to play in front of their own fans triumphing in each of the last five. That makes an alternative special bet on Blackburn beating Bolton and both teams scoring attractive at 7/2.

From Rovers’ point of view, it difficult to know whether a knee injury to star striker Jordan Rhodes has been a blessing or a curse. On the plus side, if he cannot play, then he’s unlikely to pass a medical somewhere else, but Blackburn have resisted the overtures of other clubs, including Middlesbrough.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Leeds United v Blackburn Rovers - Elland Road

Conversely, they are yet to win a match. Should Bowyer risk Rhodes, who has an excellent record of four in three home games against Wanderers, it could pay off, and he features in an enhanced 11/4 wincast.

Without rampant Rhodes, it’s difficult to see Rovers having much joy in front of goal as their other attackers all have points to prove.

Like their hosts, Bolton are dealing with the legacy of failing to get back into England’s top-flight, which has meant a squad overhaul that includes selling star defender Tim Ream. Blackburn should sympathise after cashing in on Rhodes’ old strike partner Rudy Gestede when Aston Villa came calling.

Neil Lennon’s own goal threat is much-diminished; long gone are the days of international calibre players Nicolas Anelka and Ivan Klasnic leading the Wanderers’ line.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Bolton Wanderers v Nottingham Forest - Macron Stadium

Emile Heskey, the subject of much ridicule over the years, might just be their best bet at 11/4 anytime, given his own more than respectable record when previously battling Blackburn. Most likely to figure from the Bolton bench, better odds of 8/1 say ‘the Hesk’ shall score last.

Coral’s top tip: Backing a derby day draw between Blackburn and Bolton at 12/5 looks a wise investment.