Bolton Wanderers vs Leeds United Preview: Trotters hope for bright start in return to Championship

Bolton Wanderers host Leeds United on the opening weekend of the 2017/18 Championship season and both will look for convincing starts.

Bolton Wanderers vs Leeds United Preview: Trotters hope for bright start in return to Championship
Bolton's Darren Pratley in pre-season action. (Photo: Rachel Holborn - CameraSport/Getty)

Phil Parkinson's Bolton Wanderers will welcome Leeds United to the Macron Stadium on Sunday in what will be the first competitive game for both clubs this season. 

The visitors, under the new management of Thomas Christiansen, have enjoyed a conclusive pre-season in preparation for the new campaign and have brought in a number of faces in preparation for their undoubted ambition of challenging for a place in the top-flight. 

Leeds have added no less than nine new faces to their first-team up to this point and that excludes the permanent arrival of defender and fan favourite Pontus Jansson, who was on loan at Elland Road last term. 

As for the hosts, the Trotters will feel ecstatic to be back in the Championship after their drop to the third-tier and boss Phil Parkinson wants to see his side prove the doubters wrong. 

It has unquestionably been a very hectic summer for Bolton in the transfer department, especially the last seven days, which has seen the club acquire veteran striker Aaron Wilbraham from Bristol City alongside the loan arrivals of Antonee Robinson, Josh Cullen and Reece Burke

​Full squad for Bolton, but one noticable absence from Leeds

Bolton have a fully-fit crop of players to choose from for the visit of Leeds United and all ten new signings over the last couple of months will be eagerly anticipating to see their names on the team sheet. 

Star forward Adam le Fondre is likely to partner Gary Madine upfront but apart from that it is unclear as to who Parkinson will name in his starting eleven. 

As for Leeds, Christiansen has almost a complete squad to choose from, however, one notable absentee will be centre-back Jansson who is yet to serve two of the three matches' suspension he received for accumulating fifteen yellow cards last year. 

The likes of Eunan O'Kane, Kemar Roofe and Stuart Dallas have heavily impressed throughout the Whites' pre-season friendlies and will be hoping to feature on the manager's team sheet for the trip to Bolton. 

​Both sides aim for bright starts

​It is without question an easy way to kick-off your season with the three points in the bag and it exactly what Bolton and Leeds will be aiming for on Sunday, despite the two having completly different objectives for the season. 

Parkinson earned a second-place finish in the league last year to earn his club promotion to the Championship and solidifying their status in this division is what most supporters will want upon their return. 

For Leeds, it is a completely different story and anything less than a spot in the top-flight at the end of the campaign will be a catastrophic disappointment for the club. So the victory at the weekend is pivotal for each side, but for very contrasting reasons. 

Bolton hoping to eye comeback 

The encounter between these two ambitious sides on Sunday will be the sixth since the hosts were last able to overcome Leeds in any competitions; Bolton triumphed over the Yorkshire outfit back in March 2014 with a 5-1 rout at Elland Road, but it's been a fairly one-sided match-up since with the opponents racking up three victories and two draws. 

They last met prior to the Trotters' relegation to League One at the end of the 2015/16 campaign where Mirco Antenucci netted either side of half-time for Leeds but Kaiyne Woolery could only bag what turned out to be a consolation. 

This Sunday's visitors narrowly lead the overall head-to-head with 26 wins compared to the home side's 23 - many of the memorable fixtures between both sides were in the Premier League before their demises to the Football League. 

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