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Blackburn v. Bolton

62792254You can't read something about Bolton without hearing about our "homesickness" and a reference to the dreaded 1 point from 30 stat which I used myself in the Fulham report. I would just like to note that we have had away wins recently, there were 3 in the FA Cup, all to Premier League opposition, so clearly we are capable of it. I don't know what the problem is, and there obviously is one given that abysmal record, but clearly it's not something that's impossible to overcome. All of this is very topical of course, as this Saturday we find ourselves on the road for the second time in a week.This time it's a much shorter trip, just a jaunt up the A666 to Ewood Park. You will remember our last match against Blackburn, a 2-1 win, or at least Sam Allardyce will as it was his last match in charge. Steve Kean is now the man at the helm, however he hasn't been doing too well. Blackburn haven't won in their last 10 league matches, and lost 6 of them. They sit 16th in the table, with just 1 point keeping them safe. Bolton haven't done the double over their roving neighbors since 1978, but this season is looking pretty good for it.

Not that all is well with Bolton Wanderers currently. Injuries to some key players has left our squad looking rather bare, forcing Owen Coyle to scramble to fill positions. Last match saw Gretar Steinsson limp off with a knee issue, leaving us a grand total of zero fit right backs. I imagine Coyle will play Paul Robinson at right back, leaving Alonso in charge of the left. That's not all, as our central midfield once again finds itself without Mark Davies, meaning that the Muamba-Elmander combination will almost certainly be starting. Our goal mine Danny Sturridge is also likely to be unable to play, so expect Ivan Klasnic to partner Kevin Davies up front. This is far from our ideal team, but as has been pointed out, it may be a good thing. This should serve as proof to the chairman that our team really needs to bulk up in the summer if we don't want to have a vulnerable season next year.

As for Blackburn, they will likely be without Roque Santa Cruz as he is out with a hamstring problem. David Dunn has added his name to the injured list since Blackburn's last match. If they want to ensure safety, it will be important for Blackburn to get a result on Saturday as they can't be expecting much from their remaining fixtures, especially against Manchester United. Rovers will be the team with the motivation, as the Wanderers don't have much hope of achieving anything else this season.

It's certainly been a good season. We had a successful cup run, spent most of our time in the top half of the table, and played some nice football. Eyes will be set on the summer, and even next season, but Coyle isn't ready to set the cruise control just yet. "I do accept they have worked their socks off this season. But I’ll do everything I can to lift those players because they have been magnificent for me, and they will be again." Season isn't over yet, and we have a Lancs derby day to look forward to. Come on you Wanderers!