Preview: Exeter City vs Bolton Wanderers
City’s recent decent form continued with a late goal sealing a deserved point at Fleetwood, although Gary Caldwell wasn’t happy that for the second away match in a row the home side were able to pounce on loose defending. The big news from Fleetwood was the sight of Jay Stansfield being carried off on a stretcher, although the good news is that there isn’t serious damage and he is hoping to return before the end of the season. Stansfield’s absence will probably give James Scott an extended run in the starting XI alongside Sam Nombe, while elsewhere any changes may take into account the fact City also have a match three days later.
Bolton come into Good Friday in patchy league form but on a high from their 4-0 EFL Trophy demolition of the Cornish lot last Sunday, so Ian Evatt’s side will be hoping to ride the crest of that wave as they look to secure a playoff place. The Trotters have failed to win their last four league games albeit mostly against fellow promotion chasers, their last league fixture back on March 17th being a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday. Top scorer Dion Charles, with 19 in all competitions (including one in the EFL Trophy final last week), has also celebrated his first international goals for Northern Ireland with a brace against San Marino – without his 15 league goals Bolton may not be in such a strong position as their next top scorer has just four league goals. One player who will be hoping to feature is Randell Williams, whose unhappy spell in the Championship at Hull came to an end in January with a move to Bolton, although the former City winger hasn’t yet established himself as a first team regular.
The reverse fixture shortly before Christmas saw City stumble out of the blocks with a dire first half display, but only trailed 2-0 thanks to Conor Bradley and Charles – who also missed a number of sitters. An improved display after half time wasn’t enough and the match finished 2-0. Unlike many of the sides in this division City have met Bolton at the Park as recently as ’21 during Bolton’s single season in the basement, and the sides played out a 1-1 draw – a Santos Own Goal put City ahead but Gnahoua equalised. Bolton’s win in December extended their league head to head lead to 6-3, with four matches finishing level.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Craig Hicks
Assistant Referee: Richard Morris and Samuel Ogles
Fourth Official : James Vallance
Craig Hicks last refereed Exeter was in the 4-2 defeat to Charlton in October.
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