Bolton Wanderers v Tranmere Rovers – The match preview

Bolton Wanderers v Tranmere Rovers – The match preview

Saturday 19th December 2020

@University of Bolton Stadium

English Football League Two



Tranmere Rovers have a rich history of rivalry sparked through the 1990s with the Greater Manchester club, Bolton Wanderers. This weekend, that rivalry will spark again.

This rivalry placed doubts in the minds of the Rovers faithful when an ex-Trotters manager was appointed following a successful interim period with Ian Dawes and Andy Parkinson in the dugout. There has been added pressure placed on Keith Hill following the last two performances, which have been described as a ‘disgrace’. Thus, there is plenty on the line in this game for Hill and his reputation amongst fans.

On top of this, a league position in the play-offs in the nearing future could be at stake. If Rovers win on the road, they will go one point away from the top seven. Failing to win, the gaps will increase. Thus, this game could be seen as a ‘must win’. If the Trotters win at home, they could go up to seventh. 

This encounter is set to be action packed and very fiery. A game to certainly look out for.



Rovers have a relatively fit squad, with only two absentees both being strikers.  Unfortunately, one of these absentees is top scorer James Vaughan who has tendonitis which shouldn’t keep him out of action for too long. 

The other striker who is absent from Saturday’s away fixture is 29-year-old Stefan Payne, he continues his recovery from a groin operation. 



Manager, last season, pre season, start this campaign, top scorer. 





The Whites were promoted to the Championship in 1991, after beating the Greater Manchester outfit at Wembley Stadium 1-0. Chris Malkin scored the goal that would take the Tranmere up, in the 19th minute of extra time.



There have been plenty of meetings between the two clubs, ranging from the glory years of the 1990s to the not so glory years experienced in the 2010s. There have been 38 occasions where the Whites and the Trotters have come head to head. The Trotters coming out on top, with 17 wins.

The first time that Tranmere competed against the Greater Manchester outfit was in 1971, the League Division Three fixture finishing 0-0. Jackie Wright was the manager then.

W – 11

D – 10

L – 17

The last time that the two clubs met was in February 2020, following a successful January transfer window for the Whites. However, the players hadn’t yet bonded together properly when Tranmere made the short trip to the University of Bolton Stadium. The Trotters were victorious 2-0, Rovers fans very displeased with their side’s performance. The two clubs were relegated in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak.



I think that the Tranmere manager Keith Hill will make some changes to his line-up following the disastrous performance in the club’s last time out. Exeter beat the Whites 5-0 in Devonshire last saturday. Below is the line-up that I’d like to see as well as the scoreline I think the encounter will result in after a cagey and feisty ninety minutes.

Team sheet – Davies, O’Connor, Nelson, Clarke, Macdonald, Spearing, Morris, Lloyd, Feeney, Woolery, Ferrier.

Scoreline – 1-1


Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord

  • Pressure has been placed onto Keith Hill prior to this fixture. If Tranmere manage to beat Bolton, they will go within a point of the play-offs and pressure will be slightly relieved.


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