An in-depth look at Barnsley's trip to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.


Barnsley (3-5-2): Roberts; Williams, de Gevigney, McCart; O'Keeffe, Phillips, Connell, Kane, Cadden; Cole, McAtee.

Bolton (3-5-2): Baxter; Dacres-Cogley, Taylor, Iredale; Ramsey, Maghoma, Sheehan, Dempsey, Ogbeta; Adeboyejo, Charles.


Barnsley: Out: Matty Wolfe (knee), Robbie Cundy (glute), Josh Benson, Jamie McCart (calf), Fabio Jalo (knee). Doubts: Herbie Kane (hamstring).

Bolton: Out injured: Will Forrester, Randell Williams, George Johnston. Doubt: Ricardo Santos (calf), Eoin Toal (Achilles). International duty: Gethin Jones. Suspended: George Thomason.


Marc Iles, Bolton News

The first thing Ian Evatt said in his post-match press conference at Oakwell after the play-off loss in May was: ‘top two next year.’

They have heaped that pressure on themselves and not really shut up about automatic promotion.

They lost James Trafford and Conor Bradley but they have invested in January and strengthened.

Bolton will feel they have a decent chance of going top at some stage because they have three games in hand on Portsmouth.

They look in good shape but there is a long way to go and you could throw a blanket over four or five clubs and Barnsley are one of them.

Two injuries to centre halves in midweek will be detrimental and we’re not sure what back three they will be able to put out on Saturday.

Bolton are a little bit punchier than last season.

In the home leg in the play-offs they had a lot of the ball but not in the right areas.

They have got better at that this season.



These two spent four years together at Oakwell, from the under 21s into the first team – experiencing promotion, a last-day survival, Championship play-offs and the woeful relegation that followed.

Adeboyejo, pictured right, left the Reds in 2022 and, after a successful six months with Burton Albion, joined Bolton last January. He has eight goals this season, including a hat-trick against Fleetwood, and is the kind of physical striker which Williams has had trouble against at centre-back this season. Adeboyejo has formed an effective front two with Northern Ireland international Dion Charles who has 17 in all competitions.

They may be a handful for the Barnsley back three which is likely to include new signing Josh Earl who made nine appearances for Bolton in a 2019 loan spell.

Adeboyejo’s place could be under threat after Bolton signed Aaron Collins from Bristol Rovers.

The referee is due to be John Busby who awarded penalties for fouls by Williams this season at Derby and in 2021 at home to Coventry.


Baxter left Chelsea last summer after 17 years with the London club, joining Bolton as a replacement for loanee James Trafford who Burnley signed for £19million after he won England under 21s the Euros in a penalty shoot-out. He has impressed, conceding just two from the last six league games.

Cole is still the joint top-scorer in the division with Stevenage’s Jamie Reid and Charlton’s Alfie May.

Cole and John McAtee – if Herbie Kane returns as expected so he can play up front – are likely to come up against a much-changed back three with Ricardo Santos and Eoin Toal picking up injuries in midweek. Ex-Red Gethin Jones is with Australia at the Asian Cup and there are no other fit centre-backs, Bolton signed Caleb Taylor on loan from West Brom on deadline day.


Former Bolton player Connell is expected to start after his impressive cameo against Exeter following illness.

He looked back to his very best after a stop-start campaign and, although Bolton should be tougher opponents, his return may be vital, along with Kane’s. Wales international Sheehan has seven assists this season, the most of any Bolton player and the fourth most in the division.

He plays a similar role to Connell at the anchor of a midfield three while taking set pieces and spreading play with his passing. He is likely to play alongside – with George Thomason suspended – Kyle Dempsey, who scored at Oakwell last season, and Brentford loanee Paris Maghoma.