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Championship: Bolton can climb from drop zone with Preston win

Lee Gormley | October 30, 2015

Preston North End v Bolton Wanderers

  • The Championship
  • Saturday, October 31st
  • Kick-off: 18:00 GMT
  • Deepdale, Preston
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

Strugglers Preston and Bolton collide at Deepdale

Neil Lennon’s Bolton Wanderers will travel to face Preston North End aiming for a victory that would potentially lift them out of the Championship’s bottom three places, and history is on their side, with the Trotters having won the last four successive meetings. Although, the two second tier sides haven’t met since May 2001.

Soccer - Sky Bet League One - Notts County v Preston North End - Meadow Lane

The visitors are currently rock-bottom of the second tier after a torrid start to the campaign, with just a single win from their opening 13 games, though Simon Grayson’s Lily Whites are still seeking their maiden domestic triumph at Deepdale this term, giving hope to misfiring Bolton.

In this clash between the division’s two lowest scoring sides, Lennon’s travelling Trotters are 10/3 with Coral to secure a crucial victory over their opponents, while Preston are odds-on 10/11 to grab a first home win in this fixture since 1992.

Ameobi impact

Bolton have bolstered their attacking force this year in a bid to avoid a daunting relegation, having plummeted to bottom of the table due to their horrific form, with Shola Ameobi being captured before their Leeds United encounter.

The Newcastle United cult hero found the net on his debut, only minutes after being introduced from the bench, and is 15/2 to open proceedings this time out again, as he looks to fire his new club to safety this season.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United - Macron Stadium

“I’ve still got a few years left in me, I feel,” said the Nigeria international. “I know I’m getting on in years but I keep myself really fit. It’s more about how you keep your body and do the right things.

“I have still got the quality to play in this league. It was important that I got a club that felt the right fit for me. I didn’t want to just play for any club.”

Lennon expects revival

Initially, Trotters boss Lennon turned down the chance to sign Ameobi, thinking he was too similar to other veteran frontman Emile Heskey, who is 16/5 to strike his first goal of the campaign anytime at Deepdale.

“I think he’s got a lot to offer, he’s younger than Heskey and [Eidur] Gudjohnsen who we signed last year; mind you, everyone is younger than Heskey and Gudjohnsen,” said Lennon.

“I think there’s plenty of football in him and we need to keep him fit. He’ll get better and stronger through the games and he’s a good personality as well.”

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Bolton Wanderers v Birmingham City - Macron Stadium

The Irish boss took charge of Bolton 12 months ago, and is hopeful his men can overturn their stuttering results, beginning with their Preston match-up.

“We aren’t playing like a side at the bottom of the league right now. Against Leeds, the game was there for us to win, so it was a little frustrating,” continued Lennon.

“The Leeds game was a point in our favour and we move on. We know we have to start winning games and turning draws into wins.”

Injury headaches for Preston

Ameobi should be in line to start this clash after Gary Madine limped off against Leeds, while new loan signing Luke Brattan is also in contention following his temporary switch from Manchester City. Preston’s biggest concern is that of skipper Tom Clarke, after he sustained a shoulder injury against Cardiff City, with the captain potentially set to join striker Jermaine Beckford on the sidelines.

Soccer - Sky Bet League One - Preston North End v Swindon Town - Deepdale

Preston’s top scorer last term Joe Garner has suffered a serious decline in form, contributing to his side’s domestic downfall alongside strike partner Jermaine Beckford’s injury, but he is 9/2 to net last and end his drought, while Grayson’s men are 6/5 to keep a seventh clean sheet in 14 outings.

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Coral’s top tip: Shola Ameobi opened his Bolton account on his debut and he is 15/2 to net first against Preston on his probable first start