There will be a sense of life returning to normal tomorrow when the one and only Wanderers and the other Wanderers run out at Molineux. Whilst there may be some banners in the crowd wishing Fabrice Muamba well, there will be no minutes applause, no mosaics and no ‘Uniting for Fabrice’ T-shirts. Whilst he remains at the forefront of our minds, there is a season to finish and a relegation to avoid.
We should all be aware that, despite sharing the same last name, Bolton and Wolves have a somewhat fractious relationship, although due to Wolves inability to get into and then remain in the Premier League, the matches have been few and far between recently. However, the relationship is best summed up by the below clip:
As I said yesterday, at the moment Wolves are a mess and have conceded sixteen goals in the five games since Mick McCarthy was removed. Even our goal shy forward line (leading scorer Ivan Klasnic with nine, next leading scorer Chris Eagles with five) should be able to score, although there will be no bendy wendy rubbery jubbery Johan Elmander strike this season.
‘It is going to be a difficult task because Wolves have very good players and Terry Connor will make sure they are fired up for the game.‘ St Owen, failing to spot the fact that Connor hasn’t managed that so far.
‘We will pick a team on Saturday that we feel can get a result. Whether it is the right time for Josh Vela with the significance of the game, time will tell.‘ If he’s good enough, then any time is the right time.
‘Everyone talks about doom and gloom and saying negative things such as ‘you’re getting cut adrift’ to put it on myself, the players and the club. But myself, the players and the club don’t see it like that. We have to shut out the negativity a little bit, it’s there but we’re trying to remain positive and upbeat. Until someone tells me it can’t be done, we’ll be fighting for everything.‘ Terry. Mate. It can’t be done. So that’s that then.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Team News:
Karl Henry is in line for a return as Terry Connor tries to stem the flow of goals, but Henry is the kind of player who is just as likely to kick an opposing player than the ball, so for the sake of our decimated midfield it would be hoped that he doesn’t play. Ronald Zubar is also looking for a return.
Player to watch: Steven Fletcher
The Scottish international striker will need no introduction to Owen Coyle as the Bolton manager took Fletcher to Burnley from Hibs in 2009. Whilst it would have been nice for him to come to T’Reebok when Burnley returned to where they belong, as it was he was priced too far out of our reach. He has scored ten goals this season, although his last one came in McCarthy’s last game in charge. That said, it would be just our luck to have one of OC’s ex players come and bite us. Also, has more tatts than Mark Davies and Matty Taylor put together.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Darren Pratley’s injury against Spurs leaves us with just two recognised central midfield first teamers. It will be interesting to see whether the manager decides to blood Josh Vela, having had the opportunity throughout the season to give him game time but never doing it, or return to Tim Ream, who performed well on Tuesday. This would, however, mean the return of Zat Knight to the defence.
For those thinking about Sean Davis, his loan spell at Bristol City was cut short after he suffered a, you guessed it, injury to his thigh. So he won’t be available.
Player to watch: Mark Davies
Mavies was born in Wolverhampton and spent the formative part of his career at Wolves, but it is doubtful he will get a good reception due to the nature of his departure from the club, after he handed in a transfer request to facilitate a move away from Molineux. With what has happened in the past few weeks, he is needed more now than ever before, linking up with whoever it is that starts up front, be it SKD, N’Gog or Klasnic. Due to it being a game at his local, and ex, club, this may be the hardest game of his season.
Match Facts & Stats
Bolton and Wolves have played each other over one hundred times since first meeting in 1888, the year before they moved to Molineux. Bolton lost 3-2.
Overall, Wolves hold the lead in head to heads by 49-46, whilst at their ground it is 35-13. You don’t have to go far back to find our last win there as it happened last season, an own goal, Elmander’s solo effort and a fantastic team passing movement leading to Stuart Holden sealing the deal. Others will say that the Elmander goal was the best, and it was certainly spectacular, but for the way the team was playing at the time, nothing summed it up more than the American’s first goal for Bolton.
Naturally, ‘Sir’ Nat is Bolton’s leading scorer in the fixture with nine between 1947 and 1959. In the Premier League it is SKD and Elmander with two apiece.
Jonathan Moss hasn’t taken charge of a Bolton Premier League game this season but was in charge for the 2-2 draw at Macclesfield in the FA Cup, booking David Wheater and Paul Robinson. As he has been newly promoted to the Premier League, he still takes on duties in the lower divisions so has only taken charge of eight games this season. One of those was Wolves loss at Everton in November, their only game that he has been in charge of.
2-0. I am as sure of that as I have been all season.
Fulham at home on Easter Saturday before Newcastle away on Easter Monday.
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