Three Bolton Wanderers players to watch

QPR travel to recently promoted Bolton Wanderers this weekend to face the team currently at the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table.

But buoyed by their first victory of the campaign against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, the Trotters might come into this game more confidently and we look at three players who the R’s will need to pay close attention to.

David Wheater

Strengths:

  • Leadership
  • Heading
  • Physical strength

Weaknesses:

  • Pace

One of the most experienced defenders in the division, Wheater has proven to be a colossus for the Wanderers backline. The former England youth international certainly comes under the no nonsense category when it comes to defending but his style fits perfectly for a physical Bolton team who are one of the more direct teams in the division. Additionally Wheater is, and always has been, an excellent leader with the Whites back line looking far less secure without him. It’s unlikely QPR will get much luck with high balls with Wheater at the back but Ollie’s side might be more successful on the deck, with the former Middlesbrough man not the quickest and he can sometimes struggls against nimble, fleet-footed opponents.

Josh Vela

Strengths:

  • Passing
  • Technique
  • Versatility

Weaknesses:

  • Concentration

A classy midfield operator who’s been sorely missed for Bolton this season. Vela, who is capable of playing a number of positions, is probably at his best when just behind the striker. The 23-year-old, who came through the Bolton academy, possesses a great football brain with a good engine and last year added goals to his game to help Bolton to automatic promotion. Injury has kept him out for most of this campaign but he came back against Sheffield Wednesday last week and played an important role in their victory. In a team that gets much success from going long, Vela brings a different dimension to Parkinson’s side with the only criticism being the game can at times look too easy for the young man, which leads to some basic errors in his passing.

Gary Madine

Strengths

  • Aerial ability
  • Hold up play
  • First touch

Weaknesses

  • Finishing

Perhaps not the most eye catching centre forward in the division but Madine is a crucial component to the way Bolton’s team is structured. The forward is very unselfish and will work tirelessly for the team and has had to feed off minimal service this season. But Madine’s aerial ability and hold up play mean Bolton do have the luxury of launching balls to him knowing that is capable of getting it down and bringing others into play. One thing that was evident last season was that when Madine was absent Bolton struggled, highlighting his worth to the side and the qualities he brings. But one thing the forward needs to improve on is his finishing when through on goal. He’s been mainly working off scraps this season but when one on one with the keeper he too often lacks composure and in what could be a tight game on Saturday afternoon, he might not get more than one opportunity.