This is it folks. We are getting into the nitty gritty end of the season, and we still have not secured safety. There's no way around it, we absolutely need a result from this match, as going into the last match still in the bottom 3 is a frightening prospect. I still believe Bolton can pull it out, but they only have so much time left to do it in. The good news is that the fixtures are on our side, as QPR and Blackburn have tough fixtures to close out the season, playing Manchester City and Chelsea respectively. If Bolton can get a result tomorrow, and a draw against Stoke, the Premiership is still attainable.
The team news, however, is less hopeful. Nigel Reo-Coker, who has been a rock in the midfield all season, will have to wait for a day-of fitness test, as he is still troubled by the leg injury picked up against Spurs on Wednesday. Darren Pratley is down for the count with a virus, giving Owen Coyle fairly limited options in the midfield. The good news is that the sorely missed Chung Yong Lee may be making an appearance as he put in a solid 70 minutes for the reserves.
West Brom may be a bit lost for this match, as their highly successful manager Roy Hodgson has just been appointed England manager. Baggies will be sad to see the back of him. This could spark a new sense of purpose in the players, wanting to give him a good send off, but it could also lead to apathy, as there's little to fight for in this season.
Given the current darth of midfielders, Coyle will probably go back to the faithful 4-4-2 formation starting Kevin Davies and David Ngog. It is interesting that Super Kev, who has spent most of the season on the bench is coming back into favour when it gets down to crunch time. The central midfield is a tough one this match, assuming Reo-Coker is not available, as that only leaves Mark Davies. One option is to pull Tim Ream into the midfield, and put Zat Knight back into the central defense, an unsavory prospect for most Bolton fans. Another option is the 4-4-1-1 putting Ryo Miyaichi on the right wing and Chris Eagles right behind the striker, a role he has relished this season.
It is not an impossible task, and it's certainly a challenge that Bolton are up to on their day. Whether they will step up to the plate on the day is an entirely different matter. When Owen Coyle first came to the club he oozed charisma, and it was clear that he could rally players. Now is the time for him to capitalise on that.