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League Two AFC Horwich v Rovers

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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
This is a massive game for a number of reasons, so we might as well get the match thread started early.

Bolton had a morale boosting victory at Cheltenham tonight, but in reality they are as inconsistent as ourselves, conceding six in their last home game and losing to a resurgent Walsall at the weekend. Their season mirrors ours in many ways: they have a talented and expensively assembled squad, including players like Doyle and Sarcevic, but took a long time to gel and have not been totally convincing since they started winning games.

A draw would probably be a good result on Saturday, with two theoretically winnable games against struggling sides to follow. However, we are well capable of getting all three points if we can somehow recapture the form of two to three weeks ago. This seems like a watershed game for Hill and the players, and we need a big reaction to put recent disappointments behind us.

I have no idea what the team selection will be, other than Monthe will surely still be dropped and replaced by Nelson. I think Lewis will probably start after the weak midfield display at Exeter, and I think we will probably stick with the 433 / 451 formation despite Saturday's struggles.

The defeat in this fixture against a very poor Bolton side last season was a real low point, and we hopefully won't have a repeat on Saturday.

Come on Rovers, this game means a lot to us.
 

drwhoman

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I see Exeter lost 2-1 at home to Harrogate last night. Tells you something.
 

bigmart

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Ian Muir
If Vaughan doesn't play which I doubt he will I cannot see us winning and think we will lose 2 1.
 

Ian

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If we can't put on a performance against these, I will be furious. We have to win to get back on track. We have the ability to do so but what Rovers team will turn up?!
 

ONIGP

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Very difficult to predict with the up and down nature of our performances - oven more so since this inconsistency is mirrored by many teams in the league, including Bolton. One thing is for certain, though, a poor performance will ignite the more toxic element of our fan base especially given Hill's previous employment. Here's hoping he doesn't need to swap his flat cap for a tin hat!
 
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aldo
let us just hope the players have had good hard luck at themselves because some of them looked at the weekend as if they did not give a shit, In most other jobs you would get fired for the way they were at the weekend, I'm not sure about the game I just have no confidence after the last two games something has changed let us hope I'm wrong
 

ADD

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Would expect as RLC said for Monthe to be dropped - if he isn't then I give up!
I would play Ellis but for some reason he seems out of favour so will be Nelson and Clarke. Equally I would start Murphy but Hill won't. Didn't think McDonald was that bad so he may still start instead of Rides. Agree Lewis should start as will Spearing of course. No idea whether Lloyd or Khan or Morris etc.
Up front have no idea as Vaughan presumably won't be fit. Burton I think should be given another go - was excellent in his cameo and Ferrier or Smith just doesn't work for me but I don't for one moment think he will....
 

Sparky

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I could be wrong but I heard Ellis has had some fluid on his knee which may explain his absence. I’d prefer Mark to Sid and think Jacko did too but it may not be the case with Hill
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
I wonder whether the diamond formation could actually work in this game. It is unlikely that Bolton will sit deep and frustrate us as our recent opponents have, and I think a major problem with the 433 last week was the gap that developed between defence and midfield. We played in straight lines, with not much 'depth' to the midfield, which made it easy for Exeter to play through us.

Spearing in particular struggled to cover the distances on the pitch that he needed to in that system, whereas in the diamond he is able to sit in front of the back four, with the player at the tip of the diamond having responsibility for supporting the forwards.

I also think this could be a game for CBT, as there should be spaces to exploit on the counter attack.
 
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Keith Hill said we have a 'fully fit squad', so I presume that includes James Vaughan. It would be a major boost if he was available.
 

Boz

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Iain Hume
Really don't know how this game's going to pan out. Play the same way as Exeter and we'll get the same dismal result. However, the postponement of the midweek game has denied Keith the chance of trying out a few options against a weaker opponent, so I'm not expecting wholescale changes, maybe 2 or 3 and not even sure that Monthe won't feature in the starting xi. I would start Lewis for his greater defensive contribution and good news about Vaughan, who's a shoo-in if fully fit.

Don't know that much about our opponents, who've significantly changed both manager and squad since our disappointing 2-0 defeat back in January. As well as the pair RLC names, Bolton's upturn in fortune after a poor start seems to have coincided with the recall of veteran keeper Matt Gilks. I think, like Walsall, they're a stronger side than current league tables suggest and Rovers will need to be at the top of their game to get the result needed and which we are capable of.
 

Sparky

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Unsure how this one will go. A month or so ago I would have been very confident but after our last two showings and Boltons mini resurgence then who knows.

A real shame no fans are allowed as the SWA would have taken good numbers. People always remember the 2000 league cup semi battles we had, but I can remember winning in the league at their place, 3-2 I think with possibly Scott Taylor grabbing a late winner against his old team. Who else could forget when Lee Jones grabbed a late equaliser to deny Bolton 100 points,

Ian Evatt took over pre season having taken Barrow to the national league promotion last season and has some decent players at his disposal. Doyle and Sarcevic notably but ex Blackpool man Delfouneso is decent at this level too.

Prediction: a narrow defeat or a draw. I'd take the latter to bring our mini poor run to an end
 
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Jason Koumas / John Morrissey
The rivalry with Bolton actually goes back to the late eighties and early nineties. In addition to Wembley 1991, the league games between the clubs in that period were big affairs, with both clubs challenging for promotion from the old Division Three, and we also beat Bolton in the Leyland DAF quarter final in1990 on the way to winning the trophy.
 
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ADD

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Keith Hill said we have a 'fully fit squad', so I presume that includes James Vaughan. It would be a major boost if he was available.
RLC you are spot on in that the club's match preview says that Hill said he had a fully fit squad but that isn't what he actually said - in the IFollow pre-match presser he said he had a "virtually fully fit squad" - unfortunately the interviewers didn't ask for clarification. Hopefully what he meant by that is that only Payne is out (by my rekoning he is still some weeks away from fitness after his op) and that as you say Vaughan and indeed Ellis (knee) are fully fit.
 
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ADD, I actually watched the interview and took the same inference as you, ie. that the players with short term injuries (eg. Vaughan) are available and only Payne is out.

However, as the interview was a bit eccentric and unfocussed, it was quite difficult to follow. ☺
 

Boz

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ADD, I actually watched the interview and took the same inference as you, ie. that the players with short term injuries (eg. Vaughan) are available and only Payne is out.

However, as the interview was a bit eccentric and unfocussed, it was quite difficult to follow. ☺
Let's hope the team aren't in a similar mode today.
 
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aldo
let's just hope the blip is out of the players now and they show some balls and do what needs to be done I do not know what team will turn up the way the team have been the last two games I'm not full of confidence
 
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Interesting changes. Vaughan starts, as does CBT, Manny and O'Connor dropped, with Manny replaced by Ray on the bench. Young also plays with Lewis missing out altogether. Possibly a straight 442 / 4411 ? Either that or a reversion to the diamond.
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
Very interesting indeed. Assuming no last minute injuries, KH is obviously sending a message that no-one's place is guaranteed and no-one is permanently out in the cold.
 
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