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Buckley relishes Reebok return
Albion are heading for their first ever game at The Reebok.
But Will Buckley has been there before. As a schoolboy looking for his big break The North West lad had a trial spell with the Trotters after parting company with his local side Oldham Athletic.
It did not lead to anything concrete. Nor did reports that Gary Megson wanted to take him to the Reebok a few years later.
But Buckley knows what Bolton, who were in the Premier League for ten years and finished as high as sixth, are all about.
Which is why he is looking forward to one of Albion’s bigger games of the season.
“I had a trial there when I was about 15,” he said.
“I played at The Reebok in a match. It’s the only time I’ve ever played there. It’s a really nice ground, not far from where I am from.
“I had just left Oldham at the time and, if I was to join any other club, they would have had to pay compensation.
“That’s why I never got any further. I had a couple of months going there now and again, once or twice a week.
“Nothing ever came of it but I enjoyed it there. It’s a big club and a really nice stadium to play at.
“There is massive competition around the North West. There are five or six Premiership teams in that area.
“But they are seen as a big club and the Premiership is where they are at their best and where they should be.”
Buckley lived off scraps in the ugly midweek draw at Bristol City but there were signs of his best form against Huddersfield three days earlier The right winger helped kick start the Seagulls into life after a sluggish opening, often getting on the end of passes from David.
He was also involved in the corner routine which eventually led to Leo Ulloa heading the opener.
The former Watford star added: “I had been out the week before through illness and only trained on Thursday and Friday but the gaffer had faith in me to start the game.
“I was quite tired after 75 minutes but I think I’m coming back to fitness.
“Hopefully I will start establishing myself and have a run of games.”
A first goal since November would also be very timely as Albion look for a bigger finish than this time last season.
With 11 games to go last term, Albion were on 55 points and outside the top six on goal difference, although they had played one or two more matches than their rivals.
They did not really kick on from there so what factor can make the difference this time?
“Past experiences,” Buckley said. “We know how much pressure there is going into these games.
“We have had a season where we were up there and we felt we should have got in that top six.
“We take what we know from last year and make sure we do everything we can to get into that top six.”