There could be fireworks at Villa Park on Saturday as two of England’s oldest clubs take to the stage for a fixture that almost guarantees goals.
The two clashes between Villa and Bolton Wanderers last season yielded eight goals and 120 years prior to that - in the old division one - the sides shared 13 strikes with the Claret and Blue netting nine times.
Martin O’Neill’s men will be confident of blasting a few more past the struggling Trotters in their latest match-up and the Northern Irishman will be keen to see his side get back on track after a midweek defeat at West Ham.
Vila have hardly been free-flowing this season, especially in comparison to the last campaign, but they have a chance to re-establish their attacking instincts against a side who were taken to the cleaners by Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea last time out.
Certain members of the Villa team really need a confidence boost, particularly when it comes to putting the ball in the back of the net.
Gabby Agbonlahor has been carrying the goal scoring burden so far and players like John Carew, Steve Sidwell and James Milner really need to start chipping in if their side are to challenge for a top six spot once again.
The game against Bolton should be a clash which will bring back the confidence after a West Ham washout but the Villans must beware another banana skin.
Gary Megson’s side have struggled on their own turf this season and they are a much better side when playing away.
They have claimed two wins from five on the road and they often thrive when the spotlight of the Reeebok Stadium isn’t shining on them.
They almost have a touch of last season’s Villa about them as they express themselves more against attacking home sides. Wanderers love the cat and mouse scenario and have no problem with taking on persona of the latter.
O’Neill’s men will have to lay a trap if they are to come away with a fourth Villa Park victory of the season and the key to this one could just be how adventurous Bolton are prepared to be.
The Claret and Blue will have to focus on getting men into the Bolton box and it is up to the likes of Sidwell and Ashley Young to make timely runs that will result in chances. Those sorts of bursts into the box have been rare from the midfield so far this season and that is an area which the quartet, or possibly quintet if Villa go 4-5-1, will look to improve on.
Bolton are likely to be hoping that the game is far tighter than history would suggest it will be, whilst their opponents will be aiming for a repeat of those affairs which took place over a century ago.
Fans at the game are likely to be entertained so if you haven’t already been to a display this week then get yourself along to Villa Park for a firework show which could be one to remember.