Bolton on brink of glorious promotion

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If anywhere illustrates the thin line between football success and failure, it will be Burnden Park this afternoon. At the beginning of the season Colin Todd was being jeered for selling Sasa Curcic; today the manager will be acclaimed for taking Bolton into the Premiership.

Wanderers require only a draw at home to ensure promotion that only a mathematical pedant would deny them anyway.

They might have gone up courtesy of Wolves' shortcomings last Monday but that near miss was hardly a disappointment as it is patently preferable to gain achievements first rather than second hand.

"If it's going to happen then the best place is before your own supporters," Todd said. "We prefer to do things for ourselves." Poignantly, and in many local minds appropriately, the visitors will be Queen's Park Rangers, whose assistant manager is Bruce Rioch.

It was Rioch, of course, who guided Bolton to the Premiership two years ago but he would be the first to acknowledge the going up has been better second time around.

In 1995 Wanderers required the play-offs to reach the elite, this time they have headed the First Division since January and approach today's match 17 points clear at the top.

"Our principal ambition is to get promoted," Todd said, "but we'd also like to achieve a target of scoring 100 League goals and get 100 points." To do the latter Bolton need five points and a draw from their last six games while they require another 14 goals.