GEORGE Elek (@georgeelek) makes his WLB debut as he previews Tuesday night’s Oxford v Bolton game.
Oxford v Bolton | Tuesday 19:45
An in-form Bolton team look primed to all but end Oxford’s play-off hopes at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night. Phil Parkinson’s team make the trip to Oxford on the back of three consecutive wins, which have catapulted them into second spot in League 1.
This impressive run of form included a 4-2 victory at promotion rivals Fleetwood, which was then followed up with a 4-0 demolition of Gillingham.
Hitting timely stride
With eight goals scored in their last two away games, Bolton look to have hit their stride at just the right time to seal a swift return to the second tier of English football.
January recruits Adam Le Fondre and Felipe Morais scored the goals in Bolton’s 2-1 win over Northampton on Saturday, and it has been the injection of their quality that has seen Bolton return into automatic promotion contenders.
Oxford’s recent form has also been impressive, winning eight of their past 13 league fixtures. The U’s will certainly be buoyant after a late Curtis Nelson strike kept their play-off dreams alive against Scunthorpe on Saturday.
This was the second time in 2017 that Michael Appleton’s team have had to call on a late winner at the Kassam Stadium, the other being a Kane Hemmings header against MK Dons in February.
These are Oxford’s only two home league wins since beating Gillingham in mid-November, showing a worrying inability to put teams to the sword at home.
The pitch at the Kassam Stadium has come in for criticism by many, and doesn’t seem Oxford’s technical players, and the attractive brand of football Appleton champions.
So whilst it has been Oxford’s away form that has kept then in touching distance of the top 7, it is their home for which has prevented them from really establishing themselves in the play-off positions.
This fixture represents a huge chance for Bolton to put daylight between themselves and the chasing pack, and they look a fair price at 2/1 to return north with the three points.
There is also reason to side with goals in the second period of the game. There is one clean sheet between each of them in their last five games, with goals often coming late in games.
As such there have been 4-2-2-2 second-half goals in Oxford’s last four fixtures, and 3-2-3 in Bolton’s last three. The 13/10 with BetVictor for Over 1.5 second half goals therefore looks like a nice angle.