After progressing in the Carabao Cup in midweek, The Vale are back in league action on Saturday as we host Bolton Wanderers.
This past Tuesday night, the Vale progressed into the Fourth Round of the Carabao Cup for the first time since the 2006/07 season after second half goals from Josh Thomas and Funso Ojo helped the Valiants to a 2-1 victory over Sutton United.
In the league, the Vale currently sit in fourth place after nine games and will be looking build on a solid point at Cambridge United last time out. The Vale took the lead at the Abbey Stadium when Ben Garrity finished off a good team move in the 20th minute. However, Garrity’s goal was cancelled out in the second half by Fejiri Okenabirhie’s header in the 66th minute. In the 90th minute, Vale had their keeper Connor Ripley to thank when he saved Okenabirhie’s penalty to keep the scores level and earn Vale a share of the points.
When looking ahead to Saturday’s fixture, Crosby said:
“We’re trying to be competitive, that’s what we’re trying to do. That’s what we spoke about in Pre-Season to be competitive in every single game that we’re going to play whether it’s a league game, Carabao Cup, EFL Trophy that’s what we’ve taken part in so far and I think we have been competitive. We’ve rotated team selection; players have started some games and not been picked for the next one. We’re working our way to something.
“Bolton are a fantastic example of bringing in a manager and creating a way of playing and creating an identity. They are a long way further down than we are in terms of what they’re trying to do. They play really good football, they’ve got a really good manager and after finishing in the Play Offs last season, they’ll be looking to be even better than that this season.”
Bolton Wanderers currently sit in 7th place in League One on 14 points from their first nine games. The Trotters come into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw against Peterborough United, A game where all the action took place in the space of five minutes just before half time whistle. Peterborough took the lead in the 42nd minute through Jonson Clarke-Harris. However, it only took Bolton a minute to level the scores when Victor Adeboyejo found the back of the net. In first half added time Bolton were reduced to ten men after centre back Gethin Jones was shown a straight red card. Bolton managed to see out the remainder of the game with ten men to earn a solid point.
The Trotters were in action in midweek in the EFL Trophy where they emphatically won 8-1 against Manchester United U23’s. Dan N’Lundulu and Josh Sheehan both scored a brace to help Bolton maintain their position at the top of Group E.
Bolton are managed by Ian Evatt who has been in the hot seat since he joined from Barrow in 2020. As a player, Evatt made over 500 professional appearances, including a spell in the Premier League when he played in all 38 games of Blackpool’s 2010/11 campaign.
Evatt has enjoyed a lot of success as in his short career as a manager so far. He won the National League with Barrow in 2019-20 and then helped establish them in the Football League. Since joining Bolton in July 2020, he has picked up three manager of the month awards, won the EFL Trophy and guided Bolton to a Play Off spot last season.
Player to Watch - Victor Adeboyejo
The Bolton striker has already found the net on five occasions this season, three of these goals came against Fleetwood Town where he scored a hat-trick to help his side to a 3-1 win on Tuesday 15th October.
Adeboyejo joined Bolton in January 2023 when he signed from Burton Albion. His five goals in the second half of last season helped The Trotters reach the play offs. However, they came unstuck in the semi-final, losing 2-1 to Barnsley over the two legs.
After spells at Arsenal, AFC Wimbledon & Charlton, Adeboyejo began his career at Leyton Orient where he made his debut as a second half substitute against Peterborough United in 2014. The Nigerian Forward then had a handful of loans before returning to Brisbane Road in December 2015. Eventually, he scored his first Orient goal in a 2-1 win against Hartlepool in 2017.
In the summer of 2017, he joined Barnsley where he failed to cement a first team spot. After being sent on loan to Cambridge United and Bristol Rovers, Adeboyejo went onto make 78 appearances for they Tykes, scoring 7 times. Upon leaving Barnsley, he joined Burton Albion in July 2022 where he really made a name for himself, scoring 11 times in the first half of the 2022/23 season. He also scored his first career hat-trick in a 3-2 win against Forest Green Rovers.
Since joining Bolton in January, he has added plenty of strength to the Trotters forward line he has proved to be a real handful for defenders up and down the country.
Another player to keep an eye on is Will Forrester. The former Vale defender made the move to Bolton in the summer from Vale Park.
Forrester joined Vale in the summer of 2022 and made 38 appearances over the course of the 2022/23 season before signing for Bolton Wanderers in July 2023. Forrester finally made his first league start for the Trotters in their 1-1 against Peterborough last weekend, and with suspensions and injuries in their backline, he looks like he will be in their starting XI again on Saturday.