While I have not taken an official poll, I think you would be hard put to find a Bolton fan looking forward to this match. A quick scan of the relevant statistics provides enough doom and gloom, but when put in the context of Bolton's recent form, it seems impossible. Beginning with the big picture, Spurs have lost just 1 of their last 22 home games in the Premiership, while when hosting Bolton specifically they've won 6 and drawn 1 in the last 7 games in all competitions. Bolton's own away record is also frightening, having lost 15 of their last 18 away games. In short, it's looking pretty grim.
Unfortunately, the closer this fixture is considered the worse it looks. This morning our friends over at Cartilage Free Captain posted that Rafael van der Vaart is expected to be fit and available this weekend after recovering from a hamstring injury. This means that Spurs' injury list is at a minuscule 3, with just Tom Huddlestone, Michael Dawson, and Niko Kranjcar unavailable.
In contrast, the Trotters still have a lengthy list on the medical table, joined by Wheater who is unavailable due to suspension. On the bright side Dedryck Boyata and David Ngog are both expected to return. One right back out (Joe Riley), and another in. Hopefully Ngog can provide some of the creativity that has been desperately lacking of late. Nigel Reo-Coker is a doubt after tweaking his hamstring, leading to Darren Pratley, so impressive earlier in the season, hopeful to regain his starting place. In light of this, he's had some words with the official site ahead of this weekend's match.
"The only way to get out of a rough patch is to play yourself out of the situation. We don't fear going there. We know they are a good team and they are pushing to try and even win the league, but we just want to go there and get a positive result out of the game."
I can only hope that the rest of the squad echoes his confidence. Spurs are in a good run of form currently, and this is built around a strong and creative midfield, one that will not only test out defense, but also the tenacity of our own midfield.
This has been a surprising season, most of those surprise being the unpleasant kind. Maybe to continue the trend, Owen Coyle and his Trotters will happily surprise on Saturday.