FA Cup Preview: Stockport County vs Bolton Wanderers

Stockport County boss Dave Challinor relished the opportunity for a “special night under the lights” as his side take on Bolton Wanderers in the first round of the FA Cup.

After holding The Trotters to a 2-2 draw in front of a rapturous 5,000 travelling County fans, the return fixture is set to be aired on BBC 2 on Wednesday evening.

The 46-year-old told Mancunian Matters that there was “no bigger opportunity” for his side to show their football league ambitions then to take the game to Bolton from the outset.

He said: “The best way for us to go and win the game is for us to be on the front foot.

“We don’t want to let Bolton dictate us; we need to impose our style on the game.”

Among sub-stories to an already fascinating encounter is that of ex-Bolton captain Antoni Sarcevic, who completed his controversial move to Edgeley Park just four weeks ago.

On his involvement, The Hatters boss said: “Sarce came back in at the weekend and was really good in terms of physical output, physical data and what he supplies technically.

“Obviously he’s got friends at Bolton that he’ll want to get one over on, so he’ll be looking forward to it more than most.”

On the threat of Bolton, who sit 38 places above County in the football pyramid, Challinor said: “They are a good side, expansive in terms of the players that they commit at the top end of the pitch but will take risks and leave themselves a little bit open.

“I’m sure there will be opportunities to score on Wednesday.”

Meanwhile Bolton head coach Ian Evatt is still sweating on the fitness of key striker Eoin Doyle, who has netted six times in all competitions this season.

“He’s about as touch and go as you can get. It’s not a serious thing.”, he said.

“We’re going to take it to the last minute really and see where we’re at.”

The 39-year-old was uncertain on the approach of Challinor’s side and seemingly welcomed the opportunity to hit The Hatters on the counterattack.

He said: “Will they go into the same low block they did here?

 “I don’t know, maybe they’ll feel like at home they’ll need to attack us more and if they do, that could well leave space for us.”

The Trotters will look to avoid a cup upset, but whoever prevails at Edgeley Park will face a high-flying Rotherham United in the second round of the FA Cup.

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