Owen Coyle is looking to take Bolton back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Ins: Andy Lonergan (undisclosed amount), Matt Mills (undisclosed amount), Keith Andrews (free transfer)
Outs: Nigel Reo-Coker (cancelled contract), Tope Obadeyi (free transfer), Robbie Blake (free transfer), Jussi Jaaskelainen (free transfer), Rhys Bennett (free transfer), Mark Connolly (released), Ricardo Gardner (released), Sean Davis (released), Gretar Steinsson (released), Paul Robinson (released), Ivan Klasnic (released), Rhys Bennett (loan).
Strengths: A team worthy of the Premier League. It’s never easy to keep your best players when relegation comes knocking. Football is full of vultures ready to dive into an opportunity. But Bolton Wanderers have avoided becoming a scene of a cruel scavenger hunt and still have the likes of David Ngog, Martin Petrov, veteran Trotter Kevin Davies and, fitness pending, Fabrice Muamba still in their ranks. You’ll find it hard to locate a more formidable squad in the Championship.
Weaknesses: Facing up to life in a new division. Bolton Wanderers fans enjoyed 11 glorious years in the Premier League up until their relegation to the Championship on May 13th 2012. With all of this experience – which included a top six finish that is now a distant memory – many will expect the Trotters to take the blow on the chin and make amends at once. But this is football, where fairytales are left at the door. Just ask any Leeds United fan post 2007.
Last season’s performance: Wanderers did not have the worst of campaigns in 2011/12. They thrashed Stoke 5-0 and pummelled Liverpool 3-1 in a couple of their highlights of the season. Unfortunately, their relegation rivals always seemed to be one step ahead and the Trotters slipped out of the top tier during the nail-biting drama of the final day. A good start to their nChampionship campaign will help to shake off that hangover.
If they were a celebrity: Robbie Williams in the 90s. They have both found themselves in a situation where they were much greater than their company at one point. Indeed, a big whale living in a pond.
You might not have known: When Bolton Wanderers were relegated from the Premier League in the 1995/96 season, they bounced right and were crowned the old Division One champions the very next season. Will lightning strike twice?
Championship title odds: 7/1 with Paddy Power
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