IT’S not just Roses bragging rights at stake at the Reebok Stadium today, but also a spot of neighbouring pride for rival bosses Paul Dickov and Dougie Freedman.
Both Scots have made their home in the same area of the north-west and know each other extremely well meaning victory for either will be sweet.
Rovers head into the game – their first-ever at the Reebok and first appointment in Bolton since 1987 – in the better spirits after coming from behind to take tangible reward for the first time this season in the 1-1 midweek draw at bogey side Birmingham.
After an upturn, the Trotters’ form in the past week has hit the buffers by way of back-to-back losses to Middlesbrough and Huddersfield, with sections of fans booing Freedman’s side in the home reverse to the Terriers.
But Dickov is confident Bolton are in safe hands under Freedman, not that he wouldn’t mind inflicting more pain on his and Bolton’s shoulders.
On locking horns with Freedman, Dickov said: “I am surprised Bolton are where they are, but I know Dougie really well, back to when he was in the youth team at QPR and I was at Arsenal.
“My youngest has moved onto senior school now, but last year, the kids were in the same school as Dougie’s (children) and we live near each other. He’s a good guy and is doing a fantastic job.
“He’s got a talented squad there and he turned them around last year. By their own admission, they aren’t where they want to be, but although they have lost their last two games, they have also shown people what they are capable of as they were eight games unbeaten before that. They almost got in the play-offs with the run they had last season as well.”