A friend of mine is a Bolton supporter. I asked him on Thursday whether he thought his beloved Trotters stood a chance against Bristol City this weekend and I can't print his response. Needless to say he wasn't at all optimistic. He was more concerned about when his team would go into administration and whether they'd still be on the fixture list this time next year.
Bolton have been struggling on and off the pitch. Their dire financial straits continue to distract from their equally abject travails against Championship relegation. Administration and subsequent points deductions would guarantee League One football next season, but while there is life their is hope, just.
A morale boosting 5-2 win against Walsall in the FA Cup is unlikely to have too much influence in a team that was walloped 6-0 in their last league game at Hull. Then there was the transfer mayhem surrounding 26-year-old striker Christian Doidge who joined the club on loan from Forest Green in August, with the deal to be made permanent in January. But Bolton's registration embargo has seen that deal collapse.
Bolton sit 22nd in the Championship and have taken only six points from their last 13 league games. They've also lost their last four straight away and haven't won on their travelssince August.
City, unbeaten at home in their last five outings, look set to add to that tally on Saturday. They are only five points off the playoff spots and Lee Johnson's side is unbeaten in nine games in all competitions after taking the Premier League scalp of Huddersfield in the FA Cup.
The last six City scorers have been different players so there is no obvious goalscorer bet in this game. But the Robins have seen under 2.5 goals scored in six of their last seven matches and Bolton have failed to score in more league games than any other Championship team this season (14), so Bristol City to win and under 2.5 is the play at 3.35.
Hull the punters' delight right now
Hull 2.10 v Sheffield Wed 3.70; The Draw 3.50
Hull City are on an incredible run after completely turning their season around. A win on Saturday would be the first time they have won six straight league games in the second tier or above since April 1910 under manager Ambrose Langley.
Nigel Adkins' performance in the east coast is right up there with any manager in the country. It must have been something he said toward the end of October as nine points from the first 14 league matches by 24 October has since changed to 27 from the next 12 games played, including five Championship wins on the bounce.
The Tigers have also scored at least two goals in each of their last seven league games, but the last four matches played against Saturday's opponents Sheffield Wednesday have yielded under 2.5. The Owl's have also seen under 2.5 goals scored in their last four matches this season.
Steve Agnew has been keeping the managerial hotseat at Hillsborough warm until the arrival of Steve Bruce. And the Owls are undefeated in five matches in all competitions.
The Owls have a new manager at the helm for the fifth straight visit to the KCOM Stadium, after Brian Laws, Dave Jones, Carlos Carvalhal, Jos Luhukay and now Agnew, but it's asking a lot for the new man to take much from the KCOM this weekend. With Hull rampant and unlikely to be tainted by a defeat to Millwall in the FA Cup last weekend it doesn't bode well.
Jarod Bowen has scored in each of the last two home games and landed my nap last weekend, so I was going to stick with the tried, trusted and profitable Bowen to score again in a Hull win, but it wasn't available at the time of writing.
Fraizer Campbell has scored two goals in three games against Sheffield Wednesday for Hull, including netting the opener in the reverse fixture earlier this season. He would be another strong scorer option.
But Hull to win and over 2.5 takes my money at [3.43].
Bees and Stoke hard to split
Brentford 2.46 v Stoke 3.25; The Draw 3.40
Brentford boss Thomas Frank had a dreadful start after replacing Dean Smith as manager, but recent results have offered a glimmer of hope. Unbeaten in five games in all competitions, with three league draws in succession, the Bees are buzzing back.
Frank needs that run to continue with his side only six points clear of safety and they face a Stoke side on Saturday who will be hoping for the new manager bump. Gary Rowett has gone and Nathan Jones takes charge of a team with aspirations far higher than their current 14th position. Former Luton Town man Jones inherits a side eight points short of the playoffs, the bare minumum for the pre-season title favourites.
This game is tough to call, but don't count on their being many goals. There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Brentford's last five league games and Stoke have failed to find the net in their last three Championship matches and an under 2.5 match goal bet would have landed in their last four outings.
The draw seems a likely result possibility at 3.40, but the wise money is on it being a low scoring affair too, so let's play for a 0-0 or 1-1 with the draw and under 2.5 goals at [3.89].
Back Bristol City to beat Bolton and under 2.5 goals @ 3.35 (best bet)
Back Hull to beat Sheffield Wed and over 2.5 goals @ [3.43]
Back Draw in Brentford v Stoke and under 2.5 goals @ [3.89]