Dec 5, 2015 at 3pm UK at ​Reebok Stadium
BoltonBolton Wanderers
2-3
CardiffCardiff City
Madine (18'), Dervite (72')
Manuel Casado (41'), Pratley (69')
Manuel Casado (90')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Watt (13'), Malone (53'), Pilkington (80')
Fabio (88'), Connolly (89')

Preview: Bolton Wanderers vs. Cardiff City

Sports Mole previews Saturday afternoon's Championship encounter between Bolton Wanderers and Cardiff City at the Macron Stadium.

Crisis club Bolton Wanderers have a chance to give their supporters something to cheer about at the weekend when they take on promotion chasers Cardiff City.

Things may look bleak off the field at the moment for the Trotters, yet a point picked up against Brentford earlier this week offers hope of mounting a real push for safety.


Bolton Wanderers

Bolton manager Neil Lennon takes his seat ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match between Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday at Reebok Stadium on September 15, 2015© Getty Images

Wanderers can be forgiven for perhaps taking their eye off the ball over the past few weeks, with takeover talks still supposedly rumbling on behind the scenes at the Macron Stadium.

The latest reports on the financial difficulties at Bolton suggest that the club have until their meeting with Cardiff to solve their problems, or else troubleshooter Trevor Birch will be forced to go down the administration route.

Should that be the case then the Trotters will be hit with a 12-point deduction to take their season tally to exactly zero points, which will almost certainly lead to relegation into the third tier bar a minor miracle.

Despite the ongoing problems, recently described by Birch as "increasingly perilous", boss Neil Lennon has insisted that it will be business as usual for his side on the field of play.

That appeared to be the case in the battling 1-1 draw with Brentford on Monday night, as a slow start to the match eventually ended with Bolton growing in confidence and nearly snatching just a second win of the campaign.

It is now 12 games since Wanderers last tasted a victory, the longest such run in the division and one that desperately needs to end soon if the club are to keep their hopes of survival alive.

For all the brave and battling performances that Lennon has praised, the four-point gap on 21st-placed Charlton Athletic needs to be made up or else League One football beckons next year.

Bolton have had to contend with various injury setbacks this term which has certainly not helped their cause, the latest of which likely to see Max Clayton ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.

Recent form in Championship: DDLDLD


Cardiff City

Russell Slade, Manager of Cardiff City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Charlton Athletic at the Cardiff City Stadium on September 26, 2015© Getty Images

The question of glass half full or half empty has popped up repeatedly for Cardiff supporters this season following a campaign of rather mixed results.

Never was that poser more pertinent than last Saturday, however, when a two-goal lead against one of the promotion favourites in Burnley slipped away in a cruel manner right at the death.

For a large part of the game it looked as though Russell Slade's men had pulled off arguably their best result of the campaign, having produced what was certainly their most impressive showing of the term thus far.

A place in joint-sixth eluded the Bluebirds, though, and now the pitchforks are seemingly out once more as certain sections of the fanbase call for a change to be made.

Incredibly, Cardiff's wait for a goal from open play now stretches back some nine games, when Joe Mason tucked away early on against Brighton & Hove Albion to earn what would prove to be a decent point on the road.

It is perhaps not too surprising to see City top the table in terms of headed goals scored this season, then, with 47% of their scoring tally - nine in all - coming via the heads of the likes of Matt Connolly and Sean Morrison.

While it may not be all doom and gloom for the Welsh outfit, who know that they can still finish the weekend inside the top six, their struggles against sides at the wrong end of the table in recent times certainly needs improving.

Following on from defeats against the likes of a down-and-out Blackpool and Millwall in 2014-15, a similar situation has developed this time around under Slade with points already being dropped in winnable games against, most notably, Bristol City and Rotherham United.

Recent form in Championship: DDLWLD


Team News

Fabio da Silva of Cardiff in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Norwich City at Cardiff City Stadium on February 1, 2014 © Getty Images

Clayton could be out for the season after damaging his hamstring against Brentford, while Mark Davies is also a definite absentee after picking up a fifth caution of the campaign in that one.

Emile Heskey and Dean Moxey are the likely replacements in the squad after returning to fitness, but Shola Ameobi will be desperate to face off against brother Sammy who is expected to form a part of the visitors' lineup.

The Bluebirds have had to contend with a virus going around the camp over the past few days, yet it is not known whether any of those affected will miss out on the trip to Lancashire.

Brazilian full-back Fabio revealed earlier this week that he is back in contention ahead of schedule, meaning that Scott Malone could be forced to drop back down to the bench after deputising over the past couple of months.

Bolton Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Amos; Vela, Wheater, Dervite, Casado; Pratley, Dobbie, Danns, Feeney; Madine, Ameobi

Cardiff City possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Peltier, Morrison, Connolly, Fabio; Ralls, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Noone; Watt, Jones


Head To Head

Bolton have claimed a win in each of their last 11 home meetings with Cardiff - a run stretching back to the 1973-74 season.

Cardiff did beat the Trotters 1-0 in an FA Cup tie at the Macron Stadium last January, however, yet that was very much an anomaly as the Bluebirds have failed to score in five of their last seven games against Bolton.

Wanderers, on the other hand, have scored 14 goals in the last six fixtures home and away against their opponents.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Cardiff City

Bolton boast an impressive home record over Cardiff, while they have also made themselves tough to beat at the Macron Stadium all season. Seven draws in all is not good enough for a team aiming to stay afloat of the drop zone, however, and the Bluebirds could take advantage of that on Saturday.


Who will win Saturday afternoon's clash at the Macron Stadium?

Bolton Wanderers
Draw
Cardiff City
Bolton Wanderers
25.0%
Draw
26.7%
Cardiff City
48.3%
Russell Slade, Manager of Cardiff City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Cardiff City and Charlton Athletic at the Cardiff City Stadium on September 26, 2015
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