NEXT season’s fixtures were announced on Wednesday and Marc Iles looks at what it means for Wanderers... and the fans


IF Wanderers found last season’s schedule too punishing at the start – they might well feel that the fixture computer has been kinder to them this time around.

Fans waited eagerly for the 9am embargo to be lifted yesterday, flocking in their thousands to The Bolton News’ website to see what was in store for them between August and May.

And the general consensus is that Dougie Freedman should have a decent idea of how far his team have come by the time he faces the first of three relegated Premier League clubs, Fulham, at Craven Cottage in early October.

Last season the Whites slumped to their worst start in more than 100 years, winning just once in their first 13 games.

The poor form was partially explained away by the fact they had been drawn against many of the division’s strongest sides – but while Wanderers do face two of last season’s beaten play-off teams, Nottingham Forest and Brighton, inside their first four games, they will be reasonably confident with the start they have been handed.

Things kick off against Watford at Vicarage Road on August 9 – the ground at which they nicked a 1-0 win last season thanks to a Jermaine Beckford goal.

As always, the festive fixture list was heavily scrutinised, and there is a Boxing Day treat in store as local rivals Blackburn Rovers come to the Macron Stadium.

That is followed by a short trip to Huddersfield Town on December 28 – where many travelling fans might take advantage of the famous ale trail heading out into the Pennines for a Christmas tipple.

Many were surprised by the fact there was no New Year’s Day fixture – but that mystery has now been solved, with the news that Football League clubs voted to remove the fixture at their most recent meeting.

The decision to abandon the traditional curtain raiser to the year was made because of the proximity of the FA Cup third round game on January 3.

Clubs do have the option of bringing a game from the second half of the season forward, by mutual consent.

For the hardened travellers, midweek trips to Fulham (October 1), Charlton (October 21), Cardiff City (November 4) and Middlesbrough (February 24) will take some planning.

Along with the Boxing Day meeting, Wanderers also travel to Ewood Park to face Blackburn on March 7.

The home derby with Wigan Athletic will take place on November 8, while the return leg at the DW Stadium will be on March 21.

And, in a repeat of last season’s incredible finale, Birmingham City will once again be the final opponents at home on May 2.

Full fixtures


9th Watford a

16th Nottm Forest h

19th Middlesbrough h

23rd Brighton a

30th Leeds a


13th Sheff Wed h

16th Rotherham h

20th Wolverhampton a

27th Derby h


1st Fulham a

4th Bournemouth h

18th Birmingham a

21st Charlton a

25th Brentford h


1st Norwich a

4th Cardiff h

8th Wigan h

22nd Blackpool a

29th Huddersfield h


6th Reading a

13th Ipswich h

20th Millwall a

26th Blackburn h

28th Huddersfield a


10th Leeds h

17th Sheff Wed a

24th Rotherham a

31st Wolverhampton h


7th Derby a

10th Fulham h

14th Watford h

21st Nottm Forest a

24th Middlesbrough a

28th Brighton h


3rd Reading h

7th Blackburn a

14th Millwall h

17th Ipswich a

21st Wigan a


4th Blackpool h

6th Cardiff a

11th Norwich h

14th Charlton h

18th Brentford a

25th Bournemouth a


2nd Birmingham h