West Bromwich Albion vs Bolton Wanderers Preview: Baggies open campaign at home to Trotters

West Bromwich Albion vs Bolton Wanderers Preview: Baggies open campaign at home to Trotters

Having only narrowly avoided the drop to League One last campaign, Bolton will be entertained by West Brom on the opening weekend.

Ryan White

The 2018-19 Championship campaign kicks-off this weekend as West Bromwich Albion host their first second tier game in eight years with the visit of Bolton Wanderers - these sides have not crossed paths since 2012. 

Darren Moore and his men will be eager to continue the good form that saw the club end last term in style, claiming victory in three of their five final Premier League outings, despite a rather stressful campaign as a whole.

Meanwhile, the Trotters, managed by former Bradford City boss Phil Parkinson, can count themselves lucky to still be in this division having struggled for much of the last twelve months; sustaining their Championship status via a final day 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest.

Rejuvenated Baggies set for fresh challenge

Several of the senior faces that could not help West Bromwich Albion from suffering relegation have exited the Hawthorns over the summer; Jonny Evans joining up with Leicester City, Ben Foster moved to Watford, and James McClean has signed for fellow league outfit Stoke City.

Darren Moore has almost a fully fit squad to choose from for this Saturday's encounter against Bolton. 

Ex-Aston Villa loanee Sam Johnstone has permanently made the switch to the West Midlands from Manchester United, but to his former employer's major rivals, whilst their other marquee acquisition is centre-half Kyle Bartley - who offers valuable Championship experience having enjoyed a stint at Leeds United.


Embed from Getty Images

Parkinson taking advantage of free market

Widely reported in the media, Bolton Wanderers' financial struggles off the field has resulted in manager Phil Parkinson having to focus his recruitment in the free agent market. 

The Trotters have added plenty of English Football League game-time to their first-team. 34 year-old Clayton Donaldson is the stand-out signing at the University of Bolton Stadium, however, the club did scrape the barrow to ensure Josh Magennis joined from League One side Charlton Athletic

Bolton will heavily be relying on the team that just about kept the team in the Championship but many predictions have tipped them to be favourites for the drop this time round.

Pre-season to shape result?

On the whole, West Brom's pre-season has been nothing less than impressive. Moore's squad failed to taste defeat in preparation for the new campaign after tallying four wins and one draw - away to Aberdeen

Wales international Hal Robson-Kanu was the Baggies' star player during pre-season having racked up four goals, a major statement on intent on where the striker wants to be within the manager's plans this term.

As for their opposition, Bolton have uninspired many with the lack of goals they seem to find from the attacking options. The top scorers were Sammy Ameobi and Adam le Fondre, both who ended pre-season on two goals each; in triumphs over FC Halifax and Peterborough United.