City travel to Bolton this weekend looking for the first win there since 1984.
Coming off the back of two wins in the league, it is a chance to put a little more daylight between us and the lower reaches, and a run at this time of the season could be crucial. However, we’re playing a seriously good opponent, a team who have plunged the depths in recent years but were a Premier League staple not so long ago.
Their manager is Ian Evatt, who brought Barrow back into the Football League with a wonderful style of football, and who masterminded two wins against the Imps last season. He’s watched the Imps’ recent 6-3 win at Bristol Rovers back and believes he saw shades of Manchester City in our approach.
“That was a crazy game,” Evatt told Manchester Evening News. “I’ve watched that game back a number of times now, and it literally could have been 10 all. It was crazy the amount of chances there were in the game. They’re dangerous; Mark Kennedy has them playing in a Man City-style 4-3-3, similar patterns, expansive, attractive, so we’ll be well prepared. We know it’s going to be a difficult game, but we’re ready for it.”
Having delved further into the Imps’ current season, Evatt believes we are not to be underestimated, although he would hardly come out and say ‘they concede a few soft goals’.
“They are an entertaining team, they score goals. They have had some good results of late. There are good patterns, good rotation and bravery in possession. They have got some threats in the top end of the pitch.”
Of course, he’ll be aware of what we don’t do so well, but at least his pre-match interview is respectful. He finished with the usual ‘we’ll have to be on it’ quote, which every manager is expected to roll out.
“We are going to have to be at our best. You can’t dip below our level in this league because the minute you do, you lose football matches. It is really competitive, there are strange results every weekend. We have to be at it and make sure we are at it. We know what is coming; we know how to prepare. I think it will be quite similar to the Charlton game here as a good example. We know what is required and will plan accordingly and hopefully produce.”
Bolton’s own form has been good of late; they’re undefeated in five in all competitions and have nine points from their last three matches, with wins against Charlton (3-1), Peterborough (1-0) and MK Dons (2-0). They’ve also beaten Wycombe and Morecambe whilst losing to top teams Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday. That leaves them sixth on 17 points, four ahead of the Imps.