Sunderland v Bolton: clean sheet key to Black Cats’ hopes

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Bolton travel to the North East knowing that a victory, priced at 3/1, could see them climb out of the bottom three.

Owen Coyle’s men face a side who have beaten them on the last five occasions in the league, but they will be buoyed by their huge win away at relegation rivals Aston Villa last time out.

The home side are on something of a dour run themselves, having not won in five but they are favourites at 10/11 to be the victors here.

The Black Cats have a fine record against the Trotters and still have an outside chance of sneaking into seventh spot.

The draw is priced at 12/5, but this may be worth staying away from considering the visitors last 30 away ties have contained only one draw, and their current total of three draws this term matches the record set by Chelsea in the 97/98 season.

Goals have not come easily for either side this term with Bolton scoring 39 and their North East opponents 42, set pieces could be crucial in breaking the deadlock.

Martin Petrov scored last time out at Villa and he is 10/1 to chip in with the first strike at the Stadium of Light.

The hosts set piece supremo Sebastian Larsson has picked up an injury and looks set to be out for the remainder of the campaign, so opting for Nicklas Bendtner, at 5/1, who has scored in the last two games that his side have found the the net, may be the best option.

Sunderland may have failed to score in 405 minutes of football but if Bolton miss the mark away from home they tend to lose.

In the last five away ties they have failed to score in, the North West club have been defeated, so a clean sheet for the Mackems at 7/4 should see them triumph.

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Aaron Cox

Aaron has written for a number of top-level publications, including FourFourTwo and the Manchester Evening News. As well as being a fanatical Rochdale AFC fan and blogger, he shares a passion for rugby league and golf.