WANDERERS have enjoyed a slight advantage against Oxford United in their previous 29 meetings in all competitions – but there’s not much in it!

The history between the two clubs actually pre-dates the U's current name. Back in 1953/54 FA Cup fourth round, Bill Ridding's Bolton, who had lost in the final to Blackpool only a year before, drew Headington United after beating Liverpool 1-0 in the previous round.

Goals from Willie Moir, Ray Parry, Nat Lofthouse and Dennis Stevens ensured a safe passage to round five by virtue of a 4-2 win. Headington, who had despatched Millwall and Stockport in their previous ties, changed their name to Oxford United in 1960.

After being elected to the Football League in 1962, replacing Accrington Stanley, it then took the two teams six years to meet each other for the first time – a game played on the opening day of the 1968/69 season which ended in a 1-1 draw, Gareth Williams scoring for Bolton.

In fact, it took six attempts for the Whites to get their first win against Oxford, that coming in November 1973 when Jimmy Armfield’s side prevailed 2-1 at Burnden Park thanks to a John Shuker own goal and a winner from John Byrom.

Fortunes were mixed throughout the seventies but in the mid-eighties the U’s were a club on the up, eventually rising to the First Division. They won the Third Division title in 1983/84 having lost to a Jeff Chandler goal on December 27 but avenging the result with a thumping 5-0 win at the Manor Ground.

When they next met in 1993/94, Oxford were on their way back down. John McGinlay’s goal separated the sides at Burnden in August, then Alan Thompson and Tony Kelly scored in a 2-0 win at the Manor Ground on December 11.

Bolton remained unbeaten until 2016 when Wes Thomas and Chris Maguire netted at the Macron Stadium against a Phil Parkinson side that had hit a bad patch of early season form. By the time the two sides met again, however, the Whites were in promotion mood – Fil Morais, Mark Beevers and Josh Vela scoring either side of a Che Dunkley own goal in a televised 4-2 win at the Kassam Stadium.

Of the next seven league meetings, Oxford would win just one. Djavan Anderson, Ciaron Brown and Steve Seddon scored to put a dent in Bolton’s play-off chase in October 2022, Dion Charles netting a consolation.

The most recent game was picked for TV and saw Ian Evatt’s side glide to a 5-0 win at the Toughsheet with five different goal-scorers – Nat Ogbeta, Josh Dacres-Cogley, George Thomason, Aaron Collins and Josh Sheehan.