The FA Cup could not come at a better time for Wanderers. The team really needs freshening up, and basically putting an almost entirely new eleven on the pitch might be just what the Trotters need. Bolton were on a good run, then Owen Coyle starting screwing around with the formation, and in a matter of weeks it has all gone tits up. The trouble is, when you start dropping players and switching the team around just for the sake of change, you can put yourself in a bad situation. However, in a cup match you are expected to make a fair amount of changes, especially when the league is clearly your priority.
The one player whom I do not believe can be dropped is Adam Bogdan. He is replacing a Wanderers institution in Jussi Jaaskelainen, and given the state of defending at the Reebok, his hold on the first team shirt is precarious at best. If Jussi were to play Saturday and keep a clean sheet, we would have a full-blown controversy on our hands, and that is the last thing this club needs. So what should be changed? Come with me Boys and girls!
To start, the entire back four. Samuel Ricketts came back from a very serious injury, and he has played every minute since. I hate the thought of it, but he needs a rest. And why not experiment? Play young Joe Riley at left back and Tyrone Mears at right back. In the centre of defence? Sit down Zatyiah Knight and David Wheater. Dedryck Boyata played centre back in the last cup match, and looked pretty good doing it. He gets another chance. And partnering him? It's time for Tim Ream to make his debut. Let's see what the American can do.
What formation Saturday? Please Owen, pretty please, go back to the 4-2-3-1 that was so successful in December and January. The two holding midfielders should be Fabrice Muamba (whom we all will be happy to see) and Nigel Reo-Coker. Darren Pratley can charge ahead in front of them.
On the wings? A pair of full debuts for Ryo Miyaichi and Marvin Sordell. They can put in plenty of crosses for Ivan Klasnic to get on the end of.
The good thing about making these changes in a cup tie is that Coyle will not be wed to them. If Klasnic does nothing for 60 minutes and has to be taken off, no real harm is done. On the other hand, if he scores a hat trick, he earns another start in the league. Same with the centre back pairing, Boyata and Ream get a chance, without Wheater and Knight looking like they have been dropped because of poor play.
It doesn't have to be the team suggested here, but please Owen, make some changes, and for goodness sake, no more 4-4-2!