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Bolton v. Stoke

klasnicWe've spent all week building up to this. I reminded everyone of exactly how we made it to Wembley, Mark gave a little recap of our last trip to the national stadium. The excitement has been crescendoing amongst Bolton fans, every other sentence is about Wembley. The club shop even has a special section for Wembley tat. The whole club is buzzing. And with good reason, this has been our best season in quite a while. Last time we were in the semi's, we weren't even in the Premier League, this season we've been consistently in the top half of the table. While our last game against Stoke was disheartening, a 2-0 loss, it was during our mid-season slump and I imagine this game will be very different.

Really we should just hope that both teams play the way they did last weekend. While Bolton looked skilled against West Ham, while Stoke fell to a dominant Spurs. It's by no means a guaranteed match, but it's certainly winnable. Bolton fans can taste that first FA Cup final since 1958. It's been easy to get carried away in fantasies of Super Kev lifting that cup he so deserves, but Owen Coyle's head has remained firmly on his shoulders saying,

"It would be a lovely thing to come to fruition but to do that you have to play out of your skin and earn the right. There is a big obstacle to overcome first if we are to get to the final as this is a very good Stoke side.

Stoke is full of quiet yet dangerous players who know how to work together to get things done. They have a long ball reputation, but are also quite dangerous off set pieces, notably their infamous throw in. But we have a throw in specialist ourselves in Steinsson, and the Wembley pitch is big enough to negate too much of a threat.

This is the biggest game Bolton have played in quite some time. I reckon at this point we're the popular favourite to win. That's a lot of pressure on a team that one year ago was relieved to avoid relegation. It'll take all of Owen Coyle's motivation and belief to get the boys going, but if anyone can it's St. Owen. Come on you white men!

Don't forget to check out what Mark and I reckon for the team selections as posted earlier in the day!