Former Bolton youth prospect Joe Riley could well line-up against Wanderers this weekend. 

Bolton Wanderers are currently aiming for their fourth win in succession in all competitions and will no doubt be looking to extend that run this weekend in the first round of the FA Cup.

Plymouth Argyle are the opponents this time around and will be playing Bolton for the first time since January 1993 when non-other than Keith Hill lined up for the Devonshire club.

The Bolton connections don’t end there though as Joe Riley, the highly-praised Wanderers academy graduate looks set to face off against his former side this weekend.

(Photo by Matthew Ashton/AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

Joe Riley, who made his debut for Wanderers eight years ago this week in a 5-0 against Stoke, was a player with huge potential during the early stages of his career.

However, after Bolton were relegated from the Premier League in 2012, the youngster suffered a string of serious injuries that hampered his progress and left him out of favour with Bolton’s manager at the time, Dougie Freedman.

After a season-long loan at Oxford United during the 2014/15, Riley made the switch to Bury after his Bolton contract expired in 2015 but was on the move again after just a year and he joined Shrewsbury Town and played against Bolton in League One but missed the Boxing Day fixture at the Macron.

In 2018, Riley joined a pair of fellow Wanderers, Oscar Threlkeld and Andy Kellett, at Plymouth Argyle where he remains to this day although his former Bolton colleagues both moved on in the summer.

Joe Riley [R] (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
The FA Cup first round match will be the first time Riley has played in a competitive match at the UniBol since he a pair of cup appearances during the 2012/13 season.

It’ll be nice to see Joe Riley on Bolton’s pitch once again but it does serve as a reminder of what might have been for the now 28-year-old defender as before a number of injury setbacks, he looked on course to make the right-back position his own at Wanderers.

Fingers crossed he doesn’t enjoy playing against Keith Hill’s side on Saturday though.

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