Bolton Wanderers and Crewe Alexandra head to Wembley to seek promotion

  • ITV Granada Reports sports correspondent David Chisnall reports ahead of a huge Wembley weekend for two North West football teams

More than 40,000 North West football fans will be making their way down to Wembley this weekend as their teams seek promotion.

On Saturday Bolton Wanderers take on Oxford United in the League One Play-off final, while on Sunday, Crewe Alexandra will take on Crawley Town in the League Two showdown.

Promotion would be a huge moment for both clubs, who have been through tough times in recent years.

Around 30,000 Bolton fans are making the trip to London, hoping to see the team end their five-year exodus from the championship.

Speaking ahead of the game, Bolton manager Ian Evatt said: "In a 10 day turnaround and a cost of living crisis to take 30 odd thousand fans to Wembley is just an incredible effort.

"It shows the togetherness, I can't thank everybody enough, we know how difficult it is and how financially challenging it can be, but your support is everything to us and hopefully we can make you proud on Saturday."

Bolton Wanderers manager, Ian Evatt, thanked fans for making the journey to London. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Former Crackerjack host Stu Francis is a lifelong Bolton fan who knows the importance of promotion.

"It means everything," he said. "Everything. Because we are a football town.

"I mean, look at the stadium, it's a sleeping giant, this beautiful stadium, and the roof doesn't leak. And hopefully this could be the start of waking the giant too."

Bolton fans are making the pilgrimage to Wembley from around the world, with many travelling miles to see their team attempt to secure promotion.

Fan favourite Fabrice Muamba has been back at Bolton as part of British Heart Foundation and SkyBet campaign to teach 280,000 people CPR.

He played for club in the Premier League and hopes they can once again push on to the higher leagues.

"Club of this size deserves to be in and around the Championship or in the Premier League" he said.

"So I wish them all the best and I hope the boys will go out and perform to the best of our ability."

Meanwhile Crewe Alexandra are travelling to Wembley after coming back from two goals down in their last match, only to win in the end on penalties against Doncaster Rovers.

Crewe striker, Elliot Nevitt said: "What we've achieved is unbelievable, we were tipped to be going down and what we've done as a team and a club and staff and fans is unbelievable.

"And we've still got one massive game ahead, and I don't think anyone can wait for that one."

Crewe's confidence is sky high after coming back from two goals down to win their semi final on penalties.

Fans celebrate with players after Crewe came back from two goals down to win their semi-final on penalties.

Manager Lee Bell said: "I just got this belief that the players players would do it because they don't know when the beat and they work extremely hard.

"And I said to before the game I was a proud man. So to be able to lead that team and the staff that work so hard, I was even more proud after the game."

The feel good factor is also back at Crewe who twenty years ago were in the Championship and two years ago were relegated to League Two.

Christopher Long, said: "The club was on the floor, it wasn't very nice to be a part of and I think this season will be the best since I've been at the club, to be honest.

"The managers is unbelievable. This young, hungry manager, you can just see what the fans and the club and the place, it's just lifted everything.

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