Updated: Monday, 6th April 2020 @ 8:41am

Bolton Wanderers to start first Championship campaign in over a decade against Burnley

Bolton Wanderers to start first Championship campaign in over a decade against Burnley

By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent 

Owen Coyle’s Bolton Wanderers will play their first domestic game outside the Premier League for 11 years at Burnley on Saturday. 

The Trotters were relegated from the top flight along with Blackburn Rovers and Wolves after last season’s hugely disappointing campaign, finishing 18th. 

The game will no doubt have added spice given that Coyle left Burnley to take over at Bolton in 2009, with some fans still angry at his defection.

Coyle has reshaped his squad for the new Championship season, with Ivan Klasnic and Mark Connolly among the players leaving the club as the wage bill is trimmed. 

Republic of Ireland international midfielder Keith Andrews – who played in all three of his country’s games at Euro 2012 – has joined the club as a free agent having been released by West Brom. 

Also arriving at The Reebok is striker Benik Afobe.  The 19-year-old joins on loan from Arsenal and has experience of this league with Reading. 

Other new signings include defender Matt Mills, who arrives on a three year deal from Leicester City, and goalkeeper Andy Lonergan who will be looking to challenge Adam Bogdan for the number one spot. 

Team GB striker Marvin Sordell will also look to make an impact this year following his appearances at the Olympic Games but will face competition from captain Kevin Davies, David N’gog and Afobe.  

One man who will not return, at least in a playing capacity, is Fabrice Muamba.  He has retired from the game at the age of 24, with medics advising him against a comeback following his near fatal cardiac arrest in March. 

Mark Davies is a target for Swansea, although the club have resisted the urge to cash in on the midfielder, rejecting a reported £4m bid for the player earlier in the week. 

Most bookmakers have Bolton as a good bet for an immediate return to the Premier League, with William Hill and BetFred both offering 6/1 for Wanderers to win the league and bounce back first time.  

Following the club’s relegation, they have done well to hang on to most of their squad and should view themselves as promotion contenders. A play off place is the very minimum required this season. 

FIRST FIVE GAMES: 

August 18: Burnley (a)

August 21: Derby County (h)

August 24: Nottingham Forest (h)

September 1: Hull City (a)

September 15: Watford (h)

 

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