Imagine ten o’clock tonight. After scoring six goals without reply, Bolton climb to sixteenth place, relegating QPR to the bottom three and, for all their wondorous wins, putting Wigan just back above the zone. With two games left and tougher opponents for their rivals, Bolton find themselves well and truly in this box seat the manager keeps on banging on about.
Not that it will be 6-0. Bolton haven’t scored six against Spurs since 2001 (15:00 update: as per the comments below, this was actually the other way round. Nice to dream though. QX)and haven’t scored six against them at home since 1996. However, with there being no idea which Spurs side will turn up, their victory over Blackburn on Sunday partly due to the Dingles absolute refusal to attack at all costs, looking at their record this calendar year, no victories away from home, it would appear that we have an excellent chance to send our new best friends back down the road with a defeat. Add onto that the fact that Spurs have never, ever, won at T’Reebok in the league and history would suggest three points and a further big step toward safety.
Naturally, this is Bolton Wanderers. So it won’t be that simple.
‘We know it will be tough on Wednesday. We are facing a Tottenham Hotspur team that has been formidable at White Hart Lane but they are coming to the Reebok. I’d much rather be facing Tottenham at the Reebok than White Hart Lane because we know that when we are at our maximum we can win this game.‘ Let us hope that the manager tells the team this before the game. And limits his half time team talk.
‘Cor blimey guv’nor, the amount of stuff I can get up here for a monkey when it would cost a score in the smoke, I’ll have ten‘ Honest Harry Redknapp goes shopping. The monkey may or may not be Gareth Bale.
‘Bolton away is always tough. We’ve been there enough times over the years and it’s always a difficult place to go. They are playing well, Owen has got them going at the moment. It will be a hard game but we’ve got to go there and be positive. Elsewhere, he gives his opinion on the game.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Both Steinsson and Pratley remain ill so Boyata should remain at right back. Good news for the aforementioned simian. Reo-Coker picked up a knock at Sunderland so Josh Vela may start, but don’t bet on it.
Player to watch: Fabrice Muamba
He may not actually be playing, but he will be the player that everyone has their eyes on when he makes his entrance this evening. An emotional greeting will be guaranteed, but I can promise you that the wetness in my eye will just be from some grit.
Tottenham Hotspur Team News:
Aaron Lennon is 50/50 with an ankle injury sustained against Blackburn and Scott Parker and Louis Saha remain major doubts after missing out in recent games. Ledley King and his famous knee will, as usual, be assessed in the tunnel.
Player to watch: Gareth Bale
When Spurs came to Bolton last season, Bale was supposed to have the beating of the whole Bolton side by himself never mind the right back he was coming up against. In the game it was Gretar Steinsson, tonight it will most probably be Boyata.
Bale hasn’t reached the heights of last season, but that is not to say that on his day he won’t turn a game by himself. He needs to be paid particular attention to, even if it just so he doesn’t have the opportunity to do that ridiculous goal celebration.
Match Facts & Stats
Surprisingly, given the respective histories of the two clubs, this will be just the eighty eighth time Bolton and Spurs have met in the league. Overall, the away side hold a 39-34 lead, whilst at Burnden/Reebok, T’Wanderers lead 25-11 since the first meeting at Burnden in 1909, Spurs winning 1-0.
Bolton’s leading scorer in the fixture is Joe Smith with ten between 1912 and 1924. In the Premier League it is SKD with eight.
In the Premier League, Bolton have had twenty three seperate goalscorers, the most against any club.
Mike Dean. Still not Clattenburg. It’ll be Stoke, I’m telling you.
This will be the Wirral offical’s third game with Bolton this season, following on from the win at Wigan and the capitulation to Fulham. He has booked five players over those two games, Robinson, Ricketts, Boyata, Petrov and Pratley.
He has also taken charge of three Spurs games, including both North London derbies, sending off Scott Parker, the former England captain.
Bolton to continue Spurs horrible record underneath Winter Hill with a 2-0 win.
The final home game of the season against the new England manager on Sunday.