Bolton v Bradford - Saturday 15:00
Phil Parkinson has urged his Bolton players to rediscover their ruthless streak as he welcomes former club Bradford to the Macron this weekend. After winning their first four matches, Wanderers have dropped points in each of their last four, including squandered leads against Charlton and MK Dons prior to last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Walsall, playing 75 minutes against ten men.
The performance level hasn’t dipped, the Whites are still creating chances in roughly the same volume, but showing less composure around the opposition penalty box. With a hot reception expected from a huge travelling contingent of 4,300, we should be confident that Parkinson will have his players switched on and chomping at the bit. His big-match pedigree is second to none.
Given Parkinson’s attention to detail when scouting future opponents, some joked that the drone which stopped play at Valley Parade last weekend was down to him. But it does raise a relevant point about preparation - when you consider the inside knowledge he already has on several players, and with a full week to fine-tune the game plan, he really does hold all the aces here.
The fact that Bradford remain unbeaten after eight matches under Stuart McCall only heightens the motivation. Parkinson will be desperate to break that sequence, along with any suggestion that City are coping just fine without him. Big games usually mean high uncertainty avoidance and one goal might be enough. Take the 10/3 available on Bolton to win to nil.