This is the big one, a true six-pointer. Reading go to Bolton Wanderers in desperate need of three points - a win would lift us out of the bottom three and make things look a lot rosier, but a defeat would leave us right in the thick of the relegation dogfight.
To get the opposite view ahead of the match, we spoke to Eddie Skelly from Bolton site Lion of Vienna Suite. Many thanks to him for taking the trip to answer our questions.
How’s the season gone for you so far?
It’s been pretty dreadful to be honest, on and off the pitch. We started brilliantly, with ten points from our first four games. Since then, we’ve taken twelve points from 24 games, winning just twice in that time. We can’t seem to score and it really looks as if League One beckons.
How’s the club looking behind the scenes?
Like on the pitch, things are far from rosy off the pitch. The club almost went into administration in September, but were spared at the eleventh hour thanks to a £5 million loan from former owner Eddie Davies, just days before he sadly passed away.
Players have been paid late and the PFA had to lend the club £500,000 to help with wages in November and December. We also lost Christian Doidge due to Ken Anderson not having the funds to pay Forest Green Rovers, with his permanent move cancelled. It’s clear to see that Wanderers desperately need new ownership, the sooner the better.
What are the main strengths in this Bolton side?
There aren’t any really. Phil Parkinson has worked wonders in the past couple of seasons to get us promoted and to keep us up last year, but performances haven’t been good enough this time around. There’s no doubting the effort, but the end product is sadly lacking.
And its weaknesses?
We just can’t score goals. We’ve only scored 18 all season and have gone goalless too many times to count.
Any particularly good or bad memories of games against Reading in the past?
The one that sticks out is the 1995 play-off final, though I was only a few months old at the time. We claimed a decent point in my only visit to Reading last season, with fan favourite Adam Le Fondre scoring the equalising goal. The bad memory is obviously the humiliating 7-1 defeat, a game in which Le Fondre was heavily involved again.
How do you see the game going, and what will the score be?
It’s a true six-pointer. You’ve added to your squad this window, while we haven’t. I’d settle for a draw, though that wouldn’t be good for either side. Wanderers desperately need a win and if we can’t claim at least a point, then dropping to League One becomes more likely by the day.