Bolton aim to bounce back from Newport defeat with Harrogate visit

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Bolton will be hoping to reignite their promotion push on Saturday as they welcome Simon Weaver’s Harrogate Town side to the University of Bolton Stadium.

Monday’s narrow 1-0 defeat in Wales at the hands of Newport was a first defeat since the 23rd of January for Ian Evatt’s side when they lost to bitter rivals Tranmere Rovers. On the day of said defeat, Wanderers fans were looking nervously over their shoulders at the possibility of non-league football.

Bolton then went on a run of 11 wins in a 14 game undefeated spell to propel the Trotters up towards the automatic promotion places. It’s been a sensational turnaround from Evatt’s side and they now find themselves in fourth place, level on points with Tranmere in the final automatic promotion slot.

Such is the condensed nature of the League Two season, nothing is secure. Eighth placed Exeter are only seven points behind Bolton and have a game in hand so the end of this season could bring about bitter disappointment just as much as glory.

Wanderers have a fine squad assembled at this level so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that they’re challenging for promotion but the board deserve credit for sticking with Evatt when things were looking ropey back in January.

Evatt has repaid that faith and has claimed the manager of the month award for March, the second month in a row he’s been rewarded with the gong.

Antoni Sarcevic is making a good recovery from a hamstring injury and the captain is now back on the grass. His return will be a huge lift in the weeks to come although Saturday is likely to come too soon.

Weaver managed alongside Evatt in non-league last season and his Harrogate side look set for a mid-table finish. Currently 13 points clear of the drop zone and eleven points adrift of the playoffs, the Sulphurites sit 16th in the table. Town fans will surely be content given it’s a first ever season in the football league.

The current form will be a concern though with four defeats in their last five games and only one point gained in that time. A continuation of this sort of form will see supporters glad to see the end of the season and just be happy to have survival secured.

Simon Power and Mitchell Roberts are both ruled out of Town’s first ever trip to Bolton with injuries.

Ten years ago Harrogate were playing in the National League North while Wanderers were in the Premier League. On Saturday they lock horns in the same division. Bolton fans will be hoping this is the last league meeting between the sides for quite some time.

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