Date: 8th May 2012 at 1:01pm
Written by:

Well, if that just doesn’t put a tin hat on it.

There comes a time when you just have to throw your arms up in the air and ask the man upstairs just what exactly we have done. A third major knee injury in the space of just over a year to a Bolton player has ruled out David Wheater for nine months just as we look forward to our MOST important game of the season. Mark XXXVIII.

Nine months. Have could have a baby in that time. If he wanted to. And if he physically could.

I suppose a small crumb of comfort is that the injury wasn`t caused by the stray boot of a Premier League or Conference National player but was more self inflicted as he fell awkwardly but managed to complete the half. Whether or not those few minutes exacerbated the injury is for the medical men to decide, but with their track record with knee injuries, nothing would surprise me.

Looking at our injury list, you could put out a pretty decent seven a side team, what with Wheater joining Steinsson, Muamba, Holden, Bibi, Mears, The Ghost of Sean Davis and Rob Lainton on the sidelines, with Pratley making the tea.

Of course, this now raises the spectre of a central defensive partnership of Knight and Ream for the Stoke game. Knight, the defender who cannot defend, normally has two good games a season but, as he had one at Everton and hasn`t played much this calendar year, the authorities who give out good games may decide to deduct the other one on a pro rata basis. His maybe partner, Tim Ream, has an issue with using his head. Not mentally, I`m not accusing him of being away with the fairies. Just when the ball gets delivered into the area it is usually Wheater who removes that danger. With the amount of high balls that Stoke will be delivering, Ream`s nicely coiffeurred bonce may have to take a battering.

There are alternatives (there are always alternatives) and if last night`s Twitter was anything to go by then Mark Connolly believes that he is the ideal candidate to step into the breach. Hmmmm?Premier League debut in a do or die game. Oh, go on then, he said sarcastically. There is also the possibility to move Boyata into the middle and Ricketts to the right and then bring in Alonso on the left (or even Robinson, big game player that he is), but OC having faith in Knight, even if so many others don`t, on Saturday is surely a sign that he will be the one who gets the nod, with the same two full backs. It`s not ideal, but you go with the best you have. And when Zat Knight is the best you have, it`s time to call in all those favours you owe.

It is hard luck on Wheater, who had been establishing himself after Gary Cahill`s departure as the senior central defender. Nine months is a long time in a career. But to do it on the eve of THE biggest game of the season is further bad luck on us and just shows what a wretchedly unlucky season we have had, whatever your views on the manager and his tactics.

Of course, with or without Wheater, the issue remains the same. Win at Stoke on Sunday and stay up, as no one can see QPR getting a squeak at Citeh, whatever the Whisky Guzzling Madman of Carrington thinks of Sparky Hughes & his mission of retribution, never mind his band of disparate mercenaries (Hughes`s, not Fergie`s).

And, as with last week, the rallying cry has risen from T`Reebok that WE CAN DO THIS and that WE CAN STAY IN THE BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE.

This is only natural as they aren`t going to say that they are going to wimp out and then look to cut out and keep yesterday`s postcode guide to Championship teams, which you can now add BB2 4JF to. But never mind the lack of the whatever you want to call the lap that they should have done on Sunday, OC wants your backing one last time:

We really do appreciate the backing our fans continue to give us. We are taking a sell-out allocation to Stoke and we will need every single fan behind us at the Britannia Stadium

Away fans generally do tend to get behind their team and with the pressure of the home fans expectation off their shoulders with a home team with “nothing to play for” there is every chance that the team could pull off a Wigan. I have to admit though that I have no basis for that belief.

Maybe it`s NRC saying that we should channel West Ham circa 2007, although at the time West Ham had Carlos Tevez and we`ve got David N`Gog (voted tenth in the worst ten signings of the season by The Mail, although that it is a little unfair) or SKD giving it “all hands to the pump” as opposed to last week`s “stand up and be counted”, which failed quite dismally in the last fifteen minutes on Saturday. Maybe it`s the dream I had last night when LCY, standing on one foot and with Robert Huth hammering him into the ground, rose to head in a goal in the last minute, but I have had a cold recently and may have overdosed on Olbas Oil. You just get a feeling.

Maybe it`s was the Mail (again) wrapping the wrong words around Rory Delap and making him out to be vowing to beat Bolton when all he said was he`d like to finish the season on a high. Or the sight of QPR fans on the pitch and their players partying like they had already been saved on Sunday. It could be that we have won more games away from home this season than anyone else in the bottom half. You can read a lot of things into a lot of things, but there is something about all of the above that makes you think it can be done.

OK. Maybe not the dream.

I guess what I`m trying to say so ineloquently is that the time for recriminations for what has passed can be put on hiatus for a week. There will undoubtedly be some, regardless of our fate. But every single Bolton Wanderers fan needs to get behind their club, their manager and their players this week. And come 5pm on Sunday, you just never know.

I mean. Who doesn`t want to see Joey Barton cry?

Elsewhere, Robbo has been put on the radar of Cardiff City as they look to regroup after our reserves beat them in the play-off semi last night. I dare say that after another good season, especially reaching the league cup final, the Welsh team will be losing some players and Robbo looks like a good signing for them. I don`t know if he was found out of his depth at Leeds, although Warnock liked him enough to continually play him even if not enough to sign him, so Cardiff shouldn`t be too much of a challenge.

Right, that`s enough for today. Fantasy League will come at ya like Cleopatra tomorrow after tonight`s game. So, until then, remain vigilant.


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