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Sunday supplement: Bolton on the march, injuries derail Forest Green’s automatic push

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Bolton luminaries Frank Worthington, Sam Allardyce, and Jay-Jay Okocha – just some of the folklore names that still reverberate around a club that in 2008 was ranked the 47th best in Europe, but the current modern-day Trotters are on the way back.

Back in September, things were looking bleak for Wanderers. Five consecutive defeats at the start of the League Two season had dispatched them to their lowest league position in 132 years of distinguished history. From a shoo-in, for relegation into the National League, Trotters’ boss Ian Evatt has cajoled his side into genuine promotion-contenders with a new-found hard shell. 

Squeaky-bum time looms and title protagonists Forest Green and Bolton know this unusual season is going down to the proverbial wire. 

Now a mini-league of nine games to go, it will be all about cool heads as the league races to the final furlong.  

Coming to the end of a five-year contract, Rovers’ experienced manager Mark Cooper has been putting square pegs in round holes with his midfield engine room driven off-course with injuries.

The loss of 16-goal Jamille Matt with a season-ending hand injury will certainly derail Rovers and Cooper can point the finger to key January departures, including captain Carl Winchester to Sunderland and Liam Kitching to Barnsley which may prove the pivotal factor in turning his side from genuine automatic promotion contenders to facing up to a second stab at the play-offs in three seasons. 

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