Bolton gaffer Phil Parkinson will be without his captain, Jay Spearing, when he takes his squad to Valley Parade this Saturday afternoon for a clash of the titans at the top of League One.

Midfielder Spearing has been an ever-present this season in a Bolton side which currently sits third in League One. However, after picking up a tenth yellow card of the season the other night against Rochdale, he will now serve a two match ban. This was confirmed on Twitter by chief football writer at The Bolton News, Mark Iles.

As for Parkinson, it’s a returns to the club where he enjoyed his most successful tenure in charge this weekend. His former side crashed out of the play-offs at the hands of Millwall last season and after a less than smooth departure from the West Yorkshire club, it’s unclear as to what kind of reaction he will receive from the Valley Parade faithful.

Both sides cancelled each other out when they met earlier in the season with the game finishing 0-0 that time out, in front of a huge away following from West Yorkshire. Bolton fans are refusing to be outdone however, selling 2,250 tickets and counting ahead of Saturday’s game to add to what will be a usually large Valley Parade crowd.

There’ll now be even more intrigue surrounding Phil Parkinson’s team selection for the game. Whoever does come in to replace Spearing will have to be on top of their game to nullify the likes of Josh Cullen and Nicky Law in midfield. These are just two of the names who are important in a midfield which is key to the attractive, attacking football which Stuart McCall has adopted since returning to the club where he is adored, following the departure of Parkinson.

Whoever gets the better of their opponents in the middle of the park could well be the side which comes out on top in the encounter.

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A long-term suffering Bradford City fan.