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Bolton Wanderers Preview

Filed: Tuesday, 15th December 2009
By: Preview Percy

Preview Percy is unwell. We, however, don't care so we dragged him out of his sickbed to have a look at tonight's match against the Trotters....

Next up is Bolton away for an 8pm kick-off at the Reebok stadium in Horwich.

Bolton, like ourselves, are in the drop zone. They currently lie in 19th spot, one point behind us with a game in hand having played only 15 times so far. At present they are one of the few teams below us in the current form table, having amassed two points from their last six games. These came away at Fulham back at the end of November, and last weekend where they drew 3-3 with Man City in an incident-packed match that highlighted once more the awful standards of refereeing in this country at present. At home they’ve notched but a single victory, Klasnic’s late winner giving them the points after they’d let a 2-0 lead slip against Everton back in October.

Bolton are managed by Gary Megson and, if there were an award for the manager least liked by his own supporters, Megson would be short odds in the betting to receive it. It seems that few Bolton fans have ever taken to their boss and, going by Megson’s comments in the press from time to time, it would appear that the feeling may be mutual. Whenever you see Megson in front of the cameras there always appears to be a defensive siege mentality about the interview and he is forever bemoaning elements, both within and without the squad, who he accuses of trying to “destabilise” the club. The latest example of this was last weekend’s half-time “discussion” with Jlloyd Samuel in which Megson and the player are said to have gone “nose-to-nose”. Trying hard, but failing, not to sound paranoid, Megson commented darkly that he “knew who had put it there and why he had put it there”. So far chairman Gartside has shown patience with Meson but, amid rumours that Steve McLaren is being lined-up as a possible replacement, few would be too surprised if Megson didn’t last out the season.

They’ll start with the long-serving Jaaskelainen in goal. He’s a decent stopper who, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, always seems to have a decent game against us. In front of him is likely to be the central defensive partnership of Gary Cahill and Zat Knight. Cahill has been on the fringes of the full England set-up, having been called up for the Kazakhstan match back in June. There was also some talk of a possible call-up to the Republic of Ireland duty through the usual “grandfather who once drank a pint of Guinness” route in the event that they qualified for South Africa. However Sepp Blatter and Thierry Henry put paid to that one.

They went with a midfield of Muamba, Cohen, Taylor and Lee against City. Muamba has an interesting history. He arrived in the UK in 1999 having joined his father who had fled what we used to call Zaire for political reasons. Muamba ended up in Walthamstow and on Arsenal’s books, eventually alighting on Bolton via Birmingham City. In view of his status as a naturalised UK citizen he became eligible to play for any of the home nations and has gained a number of England U21 caps.

Up front last week were the aforementioned Klasnic and Kevin Davies. Klasnic came in during the last window on a season’s loan from French club Nantes. Although born in Germany, and despite spending the first ten years of his club career there, Klasnic turned down the opportunity to play for the country of his birth to play for Croatia. Klasnic survived a major threat to his life in 2007 when his kidneys packed in. An initial transplant from his Mum was rejected though thankfully a second transplant from his Dad was more successful. Klasnic was less than happy with the medical staff at Werder Bremen, who he reckoned, should have spotted the problem sooner, and he left in the direction of Nantes. Klasnic’s appearance at Euro 2008 made him the first player with a kidney transplant to play at a major tournament which, if nothing else, must qualify for “most unusual stat of the week”. After all that, the hip injury that saw him limp off last weekend must have seemed quite trivial and he should be available for tonight.

What about us. Well, as feared, Franco effectively played up front on his own on Saturday with predictable consequences. It was notable that some f our better chances came when he had support for the knock-downs, something that it is to be hoped won’t be lost on the management team. Upson will presumably have another fitness test though I believe he is still a major doubt whilst Mark Noble will miss out thanks to the staggering ineptitude of referee Lee Mason who, presumably, won’t give his performance last week a moment’s thought as he picks up his end of season bonus. Jiminez is also likely to be out with a continuation of his groin injury.

Despite being poor for much of last Saturday, there were spells where a little more luck in front of goal we could have got something out of the match. Diamanti and Dyer both went close and the last ten minutes or so were one way traffic. Unfortunately, when your luck is out it’s out with a vengeance.

Prediction? Well their current form is worse than ours and, under normal circumstances I might predict us getting something out of the game. However, the Reebok is far from being a happy hunting ground for us – witness the League Cup defeat up there a while back. Maybe it’s the lousy heavy cold that I’m currently laid up with that is making me feel so miserable about this one but the usual cautious optimism that I’d usually apply to matches like this has gone out of the window. I’ll plump for a 1-0 defeat to make me feel even more miserable as my supply of Benylin runs out.

Enjoy the game!

Last season: Lost 2-1 Bolton raced into a 2-0 lead then survived a second-half onslaught in a match from which we deserved at least a point.

Danger Man: Kevin Davies another of those players who always seems to score against us.

Referee: Andre Marriner – last seen at the Stadium Of Light having a complete nightmare in our 2-2 draw up there.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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