Bolton will pick former Town forward Long’s brain

Chris Long will not feature for Bolton Wanderers against Fleetwood Town on Saturday

Chris Long will not feature for Bolton Wanderers against Fleetwood Town on Saturday

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He might not be able to feature for Bolton Wanderers on Saturday but ex-Fleetwood Town forward Chris Long could still be a thorn in their side.

There will be no return to Highbury for Long who cut short his season-long loan spell on the Fylde coast from Burnley early in a bid to get more regular gametime and joined Phil Parkinson’s side.

Long only netted four times for Uwe Rosler’s side but his fourth and final goal came when he was sent off for violent conduct in the 2-1 defeat at Port Vale in November.

After serving a three-match ban he was unable to rediscover his early form with strikers David Ball, Ash Hunter, Devante Cole and January signing Wes Burns overtaking him in the pecking order.

That defeat at Vale Park was Town’s last as their 18-match league unbeaten run rolls on.

That red card, ironically, means Long misses out on the clash between League One’s second and fourth-placed teams.

He was handed a two match ban for picking up two yellows and his second sending off of the season in Bolton’s 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers.

Bolton have not won in four but Wanderers defender Andy Taylor admitted that the players will be picking Long’s brain for information ahead of the clash.

He said: “If Longy can help us in any way to get the upper hand in any way, we’ll take it.”

While the ‘p’ word has not been mentioned by Town despite sitting in an automatic spot, Taylor says promotion is a must for the Trotters.

However, he stressed that it does not hang exclusively on the outcome of this weekend’s game.

Wanderers have lost ground on the top two after a run of just two wins in 10 games but could do themselves a huge favour with victory on their first competitive trip to Highbury.

Taylor knows the pressure is on but the experienced full-back rejects the theory that it is ‘win or bust’ on Saturday for Parkinson’s men.

“It’s a big game because we’re pushing for the automatic spots and they are on a fantastic run, but at the same time it isn’t going to be won or lost on one afternoon,” he said.

“We want to be in the driving seat but there are 11 games after that, so still a lot of points to go at.

“We’ll be working hard to try and make sure we get it right.”

Sheffield United extended their lead at the top of League One on Tuesday night but defeat for Scunthorpe United at Charlton Athletic opens up an opportunity for the Whites.

Victory would put them within a point of Uwe Rosler’s Fleetwood with a game in hand, while Scunthorpe can also move level on points into second.