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EYE ON THE OPPOSITION | Bolton Wanderers (A)

24 February 2023

Club News

EYE ON THE OPPOSITION | Bolton Wanderers (A)

24 February 2023

The Valiants will take to the road once against on Saturday as we travel to Greater Manchester to face Bolton Wanderers.

Bolton have been in fine form since the turn of the year, and in their chase for promotion to the Championship, sitting in fourth place on 59 points.

Ian Evatt’s side come into this fixture off the back of booking their first trip to Wembley since 2011 after beating Accrington Stanley in the Papa Johns Trophy semi-final on Wednesday night.

However, their last league match ended in defeat away at Wycombe Wanderers last week, with Lewis Wing netting a first-half stoppage-time winner for the Chairboys.

Vale will also be coming into this weekend’s clash on the back of a league defeat after a narrow loss to Morecambe in midweek, despite a dominant display.

In today’s read, we take a look at this Saturday’s hosts, and what we can expect from them in Greater Manchester.

ONE TO WATCH: Connor Bradley


It’s not often a fullback is the star of the show, but Bolton Wanderers’ Connor Bradley certainly has a bright future ahead of him.

The right-back has been ripping it up for the Trotters since joining the club on a season-long loan from Liverpool in June of last year.

Bradley’s short career so far began back in his home of Northern Ireland before he was scouted by the Reds in 2019.

After two years in the Liverpool academy, the 19-year-old was given his competitive first-team debut in a Carabao Cup fixture with Norwich City in September 2021.

The Northern Irishman went on to make five appearances for the Reds last campaign before moving to Greater Manchester side to develop his game.

He has been a huge hit for Bolton, scoring six goals, and providing six assists in 37 appearances in all competitions so far this campaign.

The youngster’s attacking output is something Darrell Clarke will be looking to nullify when we travel to the University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday.



In the home dugout on Saturday will be a certain Ian Evatt, the former defender turned manager, starting his coaching career in 2018 after 19 years as a professional player.

The 40-year-old played at a high level in English football for many years, mainly with Blackpool who he helped win promotion to the Premier League in 2009.

Evatt was the only ever-present player for the Seasiders in all 38 Premier League matches in their one season at that level.

The defender then played out his remaining years at Chesterfield, his second spell at the club, before becoming caretaker boss for a month in 2018, which resulted in Spirerites relegation to the National League.

Next up for Evatt was a two-year gig as manager of Barrow, where he famously made one brief appearance as a player, the last time he would step on the field professionally.

The Coventry-born manager would guide Barrow into the Football League for the first time in 48 years before taking the head coach role at the Wanderers, where he now resides.

After a shaky beginning to his Bolton career in 2020, Evatt guided the whites back to Sky Bet League One in his first season, finishing third to win the automatic promotion spots.

Last season also had a poor first half of the season, but after an incredible second half, Evatt guided Bolton to ninth place after winning 14 of their last 22 matches.

In his third season at the club, Evatt has the Trotters pushing for promotion, and the Valiants will look to stop them in their tracks.

STADIUM: The University of Bolton Stadium

 Its previous names are very well known, but where Bolton play their football is currently known as the University of Bolton Stadium.

The Whites moved into the almost 29,000-seater stadium in 1997, after having spent their previous years at Burnden Park.

The ground has hosted all four divisions of English football whilst Bolton have played there, and it has also hosted UEFA cup [now Europa League] football, in the 2005/06 season, a momentous time for the football club and stadium.


Vale wins: 1

Draws: 1

Bolton wins: 3

It is the Greater Manchester side that have the better of recent meetings between the two sides, winning three of our last five meetings.

Vale’s last win against Bolton came in 2020, an emphatic 6-3 win at the University of Bolton stadium behind closed doors.

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