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Bolton v Rotherham: Match preview

Rotherham's visit to Bolton on Saturday takes on extra importance after last week's horror show against Charlton.

It is a game they can ill-afford to lose and Neil Redfearn will be desperate for his side to show the best of themselves.

Here is an in-depth preview of the Macron Stadium clash.

Team news

Rotherham are unlikely to risk Aimen Belaid as he recovers from a groin injury.

The Tunisian returned to light training on Thursday, but looks set to miss out at the Macron Stadium.

And there is no better news with the Millers’ other absentees as Lee Frecklington (hamstring), Leon Best (groin) and Stephen Kelly (calf) are all still some way off fitness.

Redfearn is almost certain to start Andrew Shinnie in the number 10 role, meaning Paul Green could miss out, while Luciano Becchio will be hoping that the manager will deploy a 4-4-2 formation instead having been brought on at half-time against Charlton.

What the manager says

Redfearn, who began his career at Bolton, knows his side cannot afford to take the bottom-club lightly at the weekend.

The boss said: “We know that if we don’t get it right, if we’re not at full tilt then we could get beaten.

“It’s a great game to play in, they’ve found a bit of form. If you look at their squad, they should be mid-table.

“For one reason or another they have found themselves in this position.

“You can attribute it to the strength of this division and if you get on a bad run it is difficult to get out of. We’re doing well to be swimming at this level and keeping our heads above water.”

The opposition

Redfearn is right to be wary of Neil Lennon’s side, who have taken four points from their last two games.

They were easy 3-1 victors over MK Dons in their last home encounter in the league while they produced a superb comeback to take a point against Wolves in midweek having been 2-0 down going into the final 10 minutes.

Victory for Bolton will breathe further life into their bid for the great escape and will take them to within a point of the Millers.

Darren Pratley, Gary Madine and Zach Clough are all hoping to return to contention.
Skipper Pratley and striker Madine both missed the midweek draw at Wolves due to back injuries, while Clough is closing in on a return from a hip problem which has kept him out of the last five matches.

Things to look out for

How will the Millers respond?

The Millers have had a free week to cleanse their minds after Saturday’s damaging defeat against Charlton. Although the nature of the loss was alarming, the Millers could easily have taken something out of the game had key incidents gone differently, but they simply have to produce a response in Lancashire. There have been plenty of low moments under Redfearn so far, but they have in the main been followed by an impressive response. The harrowing defeat to Ipswich was followed by a 1-0 win at Leeds while a 2-0 success over Hull came just days after a horror show at Huddersfield. There has to be a similar sort of response on Saturday.

Bolton looking for revenge

While the Millers have reason to be at it on Saturday, so do Bolton. Their 4-0 reverse at New York Stadium on Boxing Day was their lowest point of the season and had boss Lennon fearing the sack. They will fancy their chances of redemption as well, with performances and results in recent weeks improving. They took fellow relegation rivals MK Dons to the cleaners in their last home game and will hope for a repeat against the Millers.

Time for two up top?

Redfearn has said for some time that his ideal formation is 4-4-2, yet has not felt able to start with that on too many occasions. He came under heavy criticism from fans last week for only playing one up front, though the Millers hardly improved after the break when they did play two in attack. However, he could be tempted to go with that formation from the off against Bolton, with Luciano Becchio now having enough fitness in his legs to potentially start. However, with Redfearn also keen to get Andrew Shinnie into his side, he may stick with just Danny Ward in attack, leaving Becchio as an option off the bench.

Pick your starting XI

So, with those posers for Redfearn in mind, what side would you pick at the Macron Stadium?


Rotherham’s last five games: LWLDL

Bolton’s last five games: LWWLD

Head-to-head record against Bolton: P37 W17 D13 L7

Last time at Bolton: Bolton 3 Rotherham 2 (16 September 2014)

Predict the score

Who will come out on top at the Macron?

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