The local derby factor make this a huge game, yet the very fact that both of these sides are battling against relegation adds even more spice to the fixture. With five points separating 18th place Bolton with a Blackburn side positioned in 16th, it would be fair to say that the result in this clash will have massive consequences for the overall relegation showdown.
Nobody quite knows how Bolton will approach this game, with Wanderers set to take part in their first clash since the sudden collapse of Fabrice Muamba just under a week ago. Owen Coyle says that should any player not feel as though they are in the right mind to feature, they will be immediately excused. Unfortunately for Bolton, there is plenty of pressure riding on the clash as the Reebok Stadium outfit occupy the final bottom three position. With that being said, they could exit the drop zone with a victory, so long as 17th place QPR lose their fixture. Owen Coyle’s men have certainly experienced some mixed form ahead of this game, with Bolton heading into this game on the back of two wins and three defeats in their last five Premier League games. However, it has to be said that their home form has been very promising through recent months, with Wanderers winning four of their last six at the Reebok Stadium.
Blackburn on the other hand have completely turned their campaign around and even though Steve Kean has been up against his own supporters for much of the season, it seems as though he is about to secure their division status. At the time of writing, Rovers sit five points away from the drop zone and many believe that they will be all but safe should they manage victory this Saturday. The club are currently on an unbeaten run of three games, managing to win two of those encounters. Furthermore, despite possessing an overall poor away record, Rovers managed to overcome fellow strugglers Wolves in their last away game by winning 2-0.
There’s little team news to report for Bolton ahead of this clash, with Fabrice Muamba set to be Wanderers’ only absentee as he remains in hospital. It is thought that despite offering players the chance to withdraw from the squad, Owen Coyle has had no takers and everyone will be available for selection. Blackburn are in a similar boat, with Rovers also having few concerns. Gael Clichy will not feature due to a hamstring issue, but Steve Kean will probably keep changes to a minimum following recent form anyway.
In terms of a prediction, we think Bolton could prosper in this clash. Even though opponents Blackburn have performed exceptionally well in recent times, we think Bolton’s home form will count for everything with our tip being a narrow 2-1 win for Owen Coyle’s side.