When Bolton beat Stoke 3-1 in August 2008, BetFred paid out on wagers that they were going straight back down. This was partly due to the fact that Johan Elmander scored one of his five goals that season in the game. To be honest, I would have paid out on that as well.
Stoke finished above us that season and the season after with a brand of, shall we say, unreconstructed football. Money has been spent this year, most notably on Kenwyne Jones, and they have started to play a bit more football, with Matty Etherington being pivotal in midfield. But, just to prove that they haven’t completely changed, they still have Ryan Shawcross in defence who, we all know, isn’t THAT kind of player.
‘Stoke City are a very good side with terrific players. You only need to look in the summer at the money they invested in Kenwyne Jones and these type of players. They have real quality. It’s always difficult going to the Britannia Stadium but I have a decent record there. To continue that, we`re going to have to be at our best.’
Second game in a week where St Owen hasn’t bigged up the opposition manager. This may be because……..
‘Gary kept them in the league quite comfortably for two years, but when he took over they were in trouble. There were also a lot of older players on big money he helped to shift on, saving the club a lot of money. He did a great job. The problem was Gary did not have the relationship with the fans that Owen has got.’
Tony Pulis just does not get it.
Stoke City Team News:
Eidur has a neck injury so we probably won’t be seeing the former Trotter line up against us. Sidibe is also out with an achilles injury. Otherwise Stoke a pretty much at full strength.
Player to watch: Matthew Etherington
Kenwyne Jones may be knocking in the goals, but it is Etherington who the team seek to play the game through. Skillful on the ball and a willing runner off it, the away side will have to get to grips with him if we are to take anything from the game.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Big Ivan is out after tweaking his groin against York but Holden and Steinsson may return from the injuries that have kept them out of the past few games.
Depending on how results go on Tuesday, Lee Chung-Yong may be on his way back from the Asian Cup.
Player to watch: Jussi Jaaskelainen
Never mind how he plays. When Jussi takes the field today he will equal Joe Smith on 492 appearances for the club and go into the top ten for appearances for the club. Kudos to you, massive Finnish fella.
Match Facts & Stats
Of the 77 league games between the clubs, T’Trotters hold a slender 31-28 lead. At the Victoria Ground/Britannia, Stoke lead 20-12.
In the Premier League, we hold a 3-1 lead and have won one and lost one at the Britannia.
Bolton’s leading overall scorers in the fixture are Willie Moir, with six between 1948 and 1952, and Ray Westwood, with the same figure between 1935 and 1946. In the Premier League, Matty Taylor has scored three in the five games we have played.
Michael Oliver has only just been promoted to the Premier League and, as a result, has never refereed a Bolton game. This season so far he has produced fifty seven yellows and six reds.
Two 2-0’s over the past week or so have raised the bank balance. Another one today and I may take the week off.
Chelsea come calling for Monday Night Football next weekend.