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Match Preview: Bolton Wanderers v. Swansea City


Bolton may have gone out of the Carling Cup in a disappointing fashion, but the FA Cup continues on, despite the best efforts of the Silkmen in the last round. Also in spite of all predictions, the Wanderers are experiencing an unexpected surge of results, and they will be looking to carry this over to their cup tie this weekend. After beating a Big Four team, albeit Liverpool who are in 7th currently, Swansea should be no problem. But if you've watched any of Bolton recently, you'll have found out that 'shoulds' have no place in this season.

Of course, Bolton and Swansea have already played this season with that match ending with a red card to Ricardo Gardner and a 3-1 victory to the Welsh side. With that recent history aside, the stats go for Bolton. The two clubs have only met once before in the FA Cup, in 1926. Bolton won that match and actually went on to win the cup. in addition to that, Swansea have only won away to Bolton once, in 1980 in the old second division.

Two players could be making a come back for Bolton, Jussi Jaaskelainen from his recent thigh injury and Tyrone Mears from a broken leg. Jussi has been the indisputable #1(or #22 if you're being pedantic) but in his recent absence, his Hungarian understudy Adam Bogdan has been putting in good performance after good performance. Tyrone Mears could replace less-than-impressive Gretar Steinsson, but it is unlikely given that he hasn't played all season. New signing Tim Ream is unavailable for the match because of technicalities. Swansea have a long term injury return on the cards too as Alan Tate, who was injured in a golf buggy accident, looks to get involved, and loan boy Josh McEachran will be hoping to make his first start.

Owen Coyle is not one to play a significantly weakened side in cups, but he has been prone to experimentation. It will be interesting to see if he sticks with the team that were a winning formula against Liverpool. Whatever he does, he should keep Nigel Reo-Coker and Mark Davies in the midfield, an area that has been a real problem for the Wanderers this season. David Ngog would no doubt be the most in form striker and an obvious start, but whether Coyle plays a 5 man midfield or 2 strikers is anyone's guess, and saying who would partner Ngog if he had one is even harder.

The FA Cup went very well for Bolton last season, until the horrific capitulation at Wembley in the semi-finals to Stoke. Coyle will be looking to progress again this season to prove he hasn't completely lost it. Bolton are in the middle of their best run of form of the season, and with a tough series of games coming up it will be important to keep confidence high. This is a game that the White men need to go for to prove after the many false dawns Bolton has had this season, that now they're really a football team again