The Reebok has never been a happy hunting ground for us, the extra time League Cup win in 2004 being our only triumph there. Last season Kevin Daviesâ€™ late & typically hustle & bustle goal finished us off after weâ€™d come back from two down. But with seventeen goals and four wins in our five away games this season we obviously go there this weekend with more than just hope.
The Trotters are thirteenth currently with seven points, only one of which was gained at home. Sunderland and Liverpool have already won there and Stoke drew. Bolton used to be a fearsome place to visit and a tough team to play against but like an aging pop band still touring, these days they look a bit like the real thing but donâ€™t feel totally authentic. Itâ€™s Gary Megsonâ€™s job to get the fans to appreciate the new material and stop them calling for a repeat of the old classics but heâ€™s struggling to win them over. The abuse he was getting from the away fans at WHL just under a year ago was astonishing. Iâ€™ve never heard supporters of a club lay into their own manager on that scale before or since.Â
To go with our centre back injury problems we now have a mini striker crisis with Pavlyuchenko and Defoe both likely to miss the game which means that Crouch and Keane are the duo most likely to be asked to put putative transfer target Gary Cahill through his paces. Yet again Redknapp has interesting choices to make at centre back. Combine Bassongâ€™s struggles against Cole and Folan earlier in the season with Boltonâ€™s reputation as a big strong side then the temptation will be there to bring in Dawson and/or move Corluka over.Â Or will he risk Huddlestone in defence again hoping that his comfort in possession outweighs his inexperience in that position? A tricky one, but thatâ€™s why heâ€™s in charge.
The squad is of such a standard these days that even though on paper weâ€™ve several first teamers missing, if you take squad rotation into consideration weâ€™re really only one or two shy. Shy of goals we wonâ€™t be though and weâ€™ve every chance ofÂ coming home with another valuable three points.
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