Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United: Happy hunting ground as Whites aim to go nap

BE it the names Reebok, Macron or University of Bolton adorning the outside of a stadium that this year celebrated its 21st birthday, the home of Bolton Wanderers has been pretty kind to Leeds United.

Marcelo Bielsa: Into the unknown.

Ten visits to Horwich have yielded six victories and three draws for the Elland Road club.

The Reebok, as it was then known, did witness United’s relegation from the Premier League in 2004 after Eddie Gray’s side were put out of their misery by a 4-1 defeat but, on the whole, Leeds supporters could be forgiven for looking forward to today’s trip up the M61 with confidence.

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Not that Marcelo Bielsa sees it this way. He is not one for putting much store by past deeds or records, the Argentinian even believing this season’s Carabao Cup meeting with Bolton in August that Leeds won 2-1 on home soil will not have any relevance come 3pm.

“If you take the 22 starters from that game, you won’t have the same ones for this coming game,” said the United chief when asked about the first time he locked horns with Bolton chief Phil Parkinson.

“So, we have to take into account this detail when we talk about the next game.”

Leeds are chasing a fifth straight win in the Championship, while Bolton’s form could not be more contrasting with the Lancashire outfit having won just once in 17 outings.

The picture has been just as bleak off the pitch with players and staff having been forced to wait two weeks for their wages.

Victory for Leeds will set Bielsa up for what he admits will be a new experience as English football embarks on the traditional festive period, which this year will see the Argentinian take charge of four games in nine days.

“It is not convenient to draw any conclusions beforehand,” he said. “We will see if the fatigue generates, or not, injuries. We also have to see if the succession of games affects, or not, the performance of the players. We have to link these parameters with the results we get.”