If you heard our latest podcast, you’ll remember that we predicted a win for the Wanderers on the opening day of the season. As a Bolton fan (which, if you’re here you most likely are), you’ll be aware that that didn’t happen.
In fact, Bolton stumbled and bumbled their way to a thoroughly disappointing 2-0 loss at the hands of a Burnley team that seemed better drilled, more up-for-it, and of a general higher quality. A miserable performance whichever way you look at it.
However, one thing our podcast did point out was the danger in Burnley’s ranks. Our brand new ‘Know Your Enemy’ section warned Coyle’s men to keep an eye on Charlie Austin, and take a look at Jason Shackell – the Clarets’ six foot four centre back. Austin set up Paterson’s opener; scored the second himself; and the Wanderers never figured out how to best Shackell in the final third.
So – as much as we wish we were wrong, Know Your Enemy seemed to hit the nail on the head. With no podcast due before we play Derby County, I thought I’d bash out a quick Know Your Enemy blog instead.
Coincidentally, it was Jason Shackell who stole the show at Derby last season. When he was sold to Burnley, there was a fair degree of cynicism from the fans, and the performance of Shackell’s replacement – Richard Keogh – will be important at the Reebok tomorrow evening.
He’s six foot two, so if we’re humping it long to SKD at all, he’ll fancy his chances at mopping up. He doesn’t score many for a centre back, but he was Coventry City’s player of the year for two consecutive seasons before his move to Derby in the pre-season. He’s 26, but very experienced at this level, and getting past him will be a challenge. Perhaps Sordell or Afobe will be able to do him for pace.
At the other end of the pitch, 30-year-old forward Nathan Tyson is one of the Rams’ more regular goalscorers. He got off to the ideal start against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, finding the back of the net as County raced to a 2-0 lead. Bolton should take comfort from the fact that the game finished 2-2 though – surely we can find a way through?
In the middle, young Will Hughes (17) is tipped for a bright future, and if our midfield performs as it did on Saturday, he could find himself with the freedom of the Reebok Stadium.
Expect a high tempo from Derby. They’ll bring the fight to Bolton, you can be sure of that. Let’s hope this time we fight back. Come On You Whites!