Lancashire rivals Bolton and Blackburn lock horns on Saturday night for a crunch Championship clash from the University of Bolton Stadium. Mark O'Haire thinks it'll be a quiet evening...
"The draw – which has collected in nine of their combined 22 fixtures this season – is a big runner at a fair price."
Bolton v Blackburn
Saturday September 6, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports
Bolton feel injustice from midweek
Bolton manager Phil Parkinson was left seething by the officials decision to rule out a Josh Magennis goal in their 2-0 defeat at Stoke on Tuesday night. The Trotters, trailing to a first-half goal, upped their efforts after the interval and the Wanderers boss was angry after a potential equaliser was chalked off.
Parkinson's posse had conceded a sloppy opener from a corner and rarely threatened in the final-third despite their improved second-half display, which the Bolton supremo described as "terrific". Bar the disallowed leveller, the Trotters best effort came when Erhun Oztumer's thumped a shot wide from 18 yards.
Centre-half Marc Wilson made an immediate return to the starting XI in place of David Wheater and should retain his place here alongside Jack Hobbs. Remi Matthews continued between the sticks. Parkinson has no new injury or suspension worries but is still without winger Sammy Ameobi and full-back Andrew Taylor.
Blackburn suffer only second defeat
Blackburn lost their home Ewood Park encounter in league football since September 2017 on Wednesday night as a Billy Sharp double gave Sheffield United a 2-0 triumph. Rovers were second-best throughout and goalkeeper David Raya was forced into a series of smart first-half saves.
The closest Tony Mowbray's men came to a goal was when Adam Armstrong fired straight at Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson with five minutes to go. Blackburn have now claimed top honours in just one of their past six Championship outings and the boss was quick to move on from his side's no-show.
Rovers started against Sheffield United in their tried and tested 4-2-3-1 before switching to a back three. The returns of Charlie Mulgrew and Derrick Williams give Mowbray options in defence should he wish to mix things up, although Ryan Nyambe remains injured. Elsewhere, Joe Rothwell and Harrison Reed are pushing for stars.
Bolton [3.55] have beaten Blackburn in each of their past six meetings at the University of Bolton Stadium, dating back to their Premier League contests back in 2009. Wanderers have kept their visitors scoreless in four of those encounters.
The hosts were excellent when seeing off Derby here seven days ago but had previously slipped to deserved defeats against QPR and Sheffield United. Since the start of last season, the Trotters have returned a fairly even W11-D5-L12 here, although if we exclude their horrendous start in 2017/18, it reads W11-D5-L7, or W7-D2-L4 when taking into account only bottom-half dwellers.
Blackburn were beaten for only the second occasion since promotion in midweek (W3-D6-L2) and have already picked up maximum points at Stoke and Hull on their travels this term (W2-D2-L1). The guests are performing at a much higher level according to the performance data but even so, appear on the short side at [2.18].
The draw [3.20] - which has collected in nine of their combined 22 fixtures this season - is a big runner at a fair price.
Each of the past three head-to-head showdowns have featured no more than a solitary strike and there's great potential for another tight, low-scoring tussle in Lancashire on Saturday night.
Bolton had not conceded a goal in over three hours before heading to Stoke in midweek, with 12 of their past 18 outings on home soil rewarding Under 2.5 Goals [1.60] hunters. No side is creating fewer clear-cut open play opportunities as the Trotters, whilst matches have averaged just 1.20 xG from open play.
Meanwhile, Blackburn's away days have been feast or famine for goals backers with three paying out for Under 1.5 Goals supporters and two topping the 3.5 goals line. Nevertheless, Tony Mowbray's men are giving up limited outstanding goalscoring chances with matches averaging only 1.48 xG from open play.
Mark's 2018/19 Profit/Loss
Staked: 39.00 pts
Returned: 46.47 pts
P/L: +7.47 pts