Former fan favourite Phil Parkinson returns to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday, this time without ex-Royals striker Adam Le Fondre who has moved down under to play for Sydney FC. Bolton have four points from their opening two league fixtures of the season, having drew beaten West Brom 2-1 on the opening weekend before claiming a 2-2 draw with Bristol City.
Winger Sammy Ameobi is doubtful after missing the Trotters’ game against the Robins, but Erhun Oztumer could make his first league start after a goalscoring debut against Leeds United in their midweek 2-1 loss in the Carabao Cup. Striker Clayton Donaldson has a chance of being fit for the trip to RG2, but it is unlikely he will start.
Josh Magennis has been on form since he joined Bolton from Charlton in the summer, scoring in both of his two league appearances so far this season, and will be hoping to continue that form in Berkshire this weekend. The departure of Le Fondre will be disappointing for Bolton, especially after his final day heroics to save the Trotters from the drop last season and his exit also leaves them slightly light up top. Josh Magennis is Bolton’s only fit first team striker and leaves them with very little options in attack.
Parkinson has started with a 4-3-3 in both league fixtures so far this season and this is how they could line up:
Ben Alnwick; Pawel Olkowski, David Wheater, Mark Beevers, Andrew Taylor; Josh Vela, Erhun Oztumer, Luke Murphy; Craig Noone, Josh Magennis, Will Buckley
I think Bolton will struggle this season unless they bring in another attacking option, otherwise they are too light in that position to be able to survive comfortably. However, Oztumer is a very shrewd piece of business by the Trotters and he could be a key player for them this season. 15 goals in 45 games for Walsall last season is very impressive from an attacking midfielder, and if he can continue that form into this campaign he could be pivotal in whether or not they stay up.
Bolton’s weakest area is definitely their defence. Mark Beevers and David Wheater are two very slow centre backs, and hopefully Sam Baldock as well as Marc McNulty will be able to exploit that lack of pace. Former Reading left back Andrew Taylor will massively struggle against Yakou Méïté’s pace and power, and Mo Barrow can beat any right back in the league for pace, so I am sure Pawel Olkowski won’t fare any differently.