Date: 18th September 2012 at 1:22pm
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There are some who say that the malaise at Bolton began with the FA Cup Semi Final drubbing at the hands of Stoke City. I say that you have to look a little bit earlier than that, to the game that took us to Wembley.

Sure, we won the game. But, against a team hamstrung through injury, we hufffed and puffed our way to a 3-2 win, courtesy of a last minute goal. The two games after that saw defeat and our only victory between the quarter and semi finals was at home against a self destructing West Ham.

Before the quarter final we had lost one game in five. After it, we won two games in nine. Coincidence? I think not.

At the end of that season, Birmingham were relegated but almost made an immediate return to the top flight last year before being beaten in the play offs by Blackpool. They have kept a large amount of last season’s squad and added a couple of, how shall we say, loose cannons (we’re looking at you, Ravel Morrison), to bolster a forward line that includes convicted sex offender, Marlon King. Who just happened to be their leading scorer last season.

Who says crime never pays?

Vital Quotes:

We`ve played two away games and lost both of them. But we could have left with points from each of those games.(And he’s off)We had two horrendous refereeing decisions against us in those games as well.(Deflect the blame. DEFLECT THE BLAME.)There was the offside goal, as we know, in the first game of the season at Burnley, and then at Hull when, from the disputed corner with the score one each at the time.(Never mind the quality, feel the injustice)If it`s a fair playing field, as we always hope it is, then we have no doubts we can go on our travels and get results.(Off you go then.)

Birmingham City Team News:

Stephen Carr is out until the New Year after surgery and Darren Ambrose is a doubt. Nikola Zigic and Curtis Davies may return, which will give Zat Knight a worry. He may have to jump.

Player to watch: Marlon King

I wouldn’t want him playing for my team, but there is no denying that the spell in chokey and having his legs in irons (probably) didn’t do any damage to King’s shooting boots and his eye for goal. Maybe it is the stench that follows him around that makes defenders back off him and give him room to shoot. If that is the case, he’ll have the freedom of the park tonight with our back four.

Bolton Wanderers Team News:

Nothing new to report. N’Gog seems to have shaken off whatever it was that forced him off on Saturday.

Player to watch: Chris Eagles

By a country mile, Eagles has been our player of the season so far. Goals, assists, runs down the wing. This is definitely his level. Whereas last season he was a luxury, coming up with the goods at times but running into trouble more often that not, this season he has been released, playing against lesser teams. If only the rest of them had started the way he started, we may not still be in the bottom half.

Match Facts & Stats

Since Bolton and Birmingham (then Small Heath) first met at Muntz Street in 1894, they have played each other 116 times in the league. T’Wanderers lead overall 46-38 but away from home trail 31-13. Our last win at Birmingham, in the league, came in 2009, Tamir Cohen and LCY netting in a 2-1 win.

The last time the teams met in the second tier was back in the promotion season, Gudni Bergsson and Dean Holdsworth scoring in a 2-2 draw.

Bolton’s leading scorer in the fixture is……….George Gibson, who netted ten times between 1927 and 1932. In the second division it is a W. Hughes with four in 1909-10. I think his first name was just W.

Ref Watch:

Carl Boyeson is the man in the middle, keeping up the names of the unfamiliar. In complete contrast to Mr Lastunfamiliar name on Saturday, Mr Boyeson has pretty much kept his cards in his pocket this season, giving out just four. Obviously prefers a free flowing game, so OC can have no excuses about that.

Match Prediction:

After Saturday I am officially £1.25 up. So, I’ll keep it at 2-1.

Next Fixtures:

Finally, Gary Megson gets his chance for revenge on Saturday as Bolton travel to Sheffield Wed…..sorry…..sacked you say…..Bolton go to Hillsborough on Saturday.

 

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