Wanderers are hoping to avenge last year’s heartbreak when they head to Oakwell in the play-off semi-final first leg.

The Whites came up just short last time around, losing 2-1 on aggregate after Liam Kitching headed home the decisive goal to set up a Wembley final against Sheffield Wednesday.

However, the crucial second leg will be played at the Toughsheet Community Stadium this time around after Ian Evatt’s men finished third in League One.

Team news

Paris Maghoma is back available after missing the 3-3 draw at Peterborough on the final day through illness.

Kyle Dempsey came into the side in Maghoma’s absence and got on the scoresheet, which means Evatt now had a selection dilemma in the middle of the pitch.

Victor Adeboyejo is back in contention for a place in the squad after missing nearly two months with a hamstring injury.

Ricardo Santos is now almost clear of his calf issue and Dion Charles has trained all week with no reoccurrence of his swollen knee. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Carlos Mendes Gomes are the only long-term absentees.

As for the hosts, Robbie Cundy and Josh Benson have both returned to training but Donovan Pines remains sidelined.

Opposition lowdown

Barnsley secured a top-six finish on the final day following a 1-1 draw against Northampton, with Lincoln and Blackpool losing against Portsmouth and Reading respectively.

Martin Devaney took interim charge against the Cobblers following Neill Collins’ sacking and the Tykes are without victory in their last six matches, including defeats against Stevenage, Charlton, Portsmouth and Blackpool.

Austrian coach Dominik Thalhammer had reportedly travelled to the UK to take charge at Oakwell but was denied a work permit.


Wanderers have faced Barnsley 49 times in their history, with a record of 17 wins, 18 draws and 14 defeats. Seven of those meetings have come in the last couple of seasons.

The points were shared at Oakwell a couple of months ago, with Bolton coming back from 2-0 down thanks to second-half strikes from Adeboyejo and Randell Williams.

The Whites’ last win in the fixture came in January 2023 when Charles, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Dempsey were all on target. The Tykes played most of that game with 10 men after Mads Andersen was shown an early red card.

Predicted line-up

The Bolton News: