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Key Bolton duo step up injury comeback with Swansea clash in mind

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Sammy Ameobi and Stephen Ireland could soon make their injury comeback in an effort to save Wanderers’ season.

The pair trained with the first team yesterday and though they are unlikely to feature at Aston Villa on Friday, it is hoped both could play some part in the following week’s home fixture against Swansea City.

Phil Parkinson’s side has scored just twice in their last eight games and the manager says their inclusion will eventually be a big boost for his attacking options.

“That is what the team is lacking right now,” he said. “Sammy won’t be back for Friday but he will be training. Stephen Ireland will be training with us as well.

“In all honesty, they are two players who have got fantastic quality in the final third so we’re looking forward to having them fully fit and available for selection.”

Ameobi has been out of action since September when he damaged ankle ligaments in a home defeat to QPR, while Ireland has been slowly building his fitness after signing a short-term contact earlier this month.

While their return will be a welcome tonic for Wanderers’ goal-shy attack, Parkinson insists the players on show during Saturday’s defeat against Hull City are well capable of improvement at Villa.

“Forgetting Stephen and Sammy, those players have more quality in terms of finishing ability than they showed (against Hull),” he said.

“I thought Christian Doidge and Clayton Donaldson looked a threat at times. And though it didn’t come off for Ozzie (Erhun Oztumer) you can see he doesn’t shy away, doesn’t let his head go down, he continues to get in great positions and it will come for him.

“Clayton missed a chance he’d expect to score but his all-round game was good.

“We are better than that. The whole team is better than that, but it’s a brutal industry football and we have to go again at Villa.”

Wanderers were bottom of the table with two points from 11 games when they left Villa Park last season but managed to clamber to safety, eventually. Parkinson knows a similar change in form is due.

“We have to regroup,” he said. “We had a terrible start last year but we found a way and got ourselves going on a very good run.

“This is probably our worst run since that period, even though we had some other tough times last year. But as I said in my first press conference as Bolton manager, it’s important that everyone sticks together.”


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