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Bolton injury problems mount up ahead of Blackburn clash

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Injury issues are mounting up for Wanderers ahead of their derby clash with Blackburn Rovers.

David Wheater is unlikely to feature because of a groin injury and Gary O’Neil will miss the trip to Ewood Park after a collision against Aston Villa left the midfielder unconscious.

Veteran O’Neil confirmed there was no lasting damage in a message on Twitter.

“Thanks for the messages,” he wrote. “I’m feeling fine now. Was unconscious for a few seconds so was not allowed to continue.

“Apologies to all Bolton fans that I wasn’t able to help keep the club up. Hopefully the club can rebuild and start to make its way back up to the top flight.”

Phil Parkinson admits O’Neil’s injury, sustained moments into the second half, had a negative effect on Wanderers as they slumped to a record 27th defeat of the campaign on Friday.

“It affected us when we had to bring him off because with Sammy Ameobi and Craig Noone already being out and Yanic Wildschut only on the bench for a 10-to-15 minute cameo at most, I had to change the shape a bit. It made us more open and we got punished.

“Gaz has got that intelligence on the right, can tuck in, and also we felt we could play Harry at right-back because of Gary’s experience in front of him.”

Ameobi (ankle) and Noone (hamstring) will be assessed before the game, as will defender Jack Hobbs, who has been nursing a back problem.Marc Wilson, who missed the Villa game through illness, is expected to feature while Remi Matthews – who has had treatment for a thigh strain – could return to the bench.

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray is wary that Wanderers have nothing left to lose, which could make them more awkward opponents than they have been recently.

A Bolton side has not taken three points at Ewood Park since the Premier League days when goals from Kevin Davies and Chung-Yong Lee ensured a 2-1 triumph.

“It is a dangerous game for us,” Mowbray said. “It sometimes happens that already-relegated teams go out and express themselves, push men forward, and it can be dangerous.

“We have to be professional, it’s a derby, there should be a good atmosphere and it’s a game we’re looking forward to. We will make some changes but be respectful to the opposition.

“I have managed a few of their players, (Sammy) Ameobi, Andrew Taylor, David Wheater, Jason Lowe, although he’s out injured at the moment. They have good, honest players who'll give a good account of themselves.".

Wanderers are also out to avoid setting a record goal difference. Their current minus 45 eclipses the minus 40 they set in 2015/2016.


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