Tomorrow’s Bolton Wanderers midfield is likely to include one man known to those in West London after an 18-month stint with The Bees under Martin Allen.
Wanderers captain Darren Pratley was at the heart of Brentford’s midfield as we embarked on consecutive runs to the League One Play-Offs in 2005 and 2006. He arrived from Fulham in February 2005 and featured 16 times as Allen’s side went on to lose to Sheffield Wednesday in the Play-Off Semi-Final that May.
Returning the following September, Darren scored the winner on his second debut at Nottingham Forest and went on to play 38 times as this time Swansea City put an end to The Bees promotion hopes in the Play-Offs. Following a five-year spell with Swansea City, Darren joined The Trotters in 2011 and should reach his 200th appearance for Bolton this season, having also scored 15 goals during his time in the North-West.
However, the man most synonymous with the two clubs is without doubt Dean Holdsworth. The striker’s 38 goals during the 1991/92 season fired The Bees to promotion and landed the 23-year-old with a big money move to Premier League Wimbledon having scored 76 goals in just 145 appearances at Griffin Park.
In 1997, Dean was on the move again, this time to Bolton where he enjoyed five fruitful seasons at The Reebok Stadium. He hit double figures in his first three full seasons, scoring 15 goals in 39 games as The Trotters were promoted back to the Premier League in 2001. After two more years in the top flight, Dean dropped down the leagues to play for Coventry City, Rushden and Diamonds, MK Dons, and Derby County.
In March 2016, Holdsworth was back at Bolton leading a consortium to purchase the club, who were lying bottom of the Championship and heading for administration. He filled a number of administrative roles, including chief executive, Director of Football and club director, during his 18 months back at The Macron before resigning his directorship last month.
Others who have represented both clubs include the current B Team goalkeeper coach Jani Viander, Chris Long, Isaiah Rankin, Cleveland Taylor, Ricky Shakes, Les Ferdinand, and John Salako.