And so here we are, one game away from a trip to Wembley. Nervous? Quivering in anticipation? Scared? Birmingham should be.
Bolton have performed better in the cup on the road than they have at home. The York game was on the way to becoming an embarrassment whilst the Wigan game should have been won, but poor finishing and Mike Pollitt put paid to that. However, the games at the DWWTF Stadium and Craven Cottage leads one to assume that Bolton play better in cups away from home, when, although we have less fans, they are more fervent. Burnley, notwithstanding.
With results, and luck, on an upward curve, with the most in form substitute striker taking his place in the starting line up and with Birmingham having a larger injury crisis than the Arsenal goalkeepers, there is only one result, isn’t there? Surely?
‘If you know Alex McLeish then you know he goes out to win every game, including training matches! I was fortunate enough to play for him at Motherwell and I learned an awful lot from him. He is a terrific manager and an outstanding man.’ Says St Owen Coyle, before going on to say that there are no easy games in the E.ON sponsored FA Cup.
‘We have had some good results in the cup, and they haven’t been easy.’ And Stewie Holden didn’t even play against York.
‘The league is more important to us – there is no doubt about it.’ Just remember that when it comes to team selection, Alex.
Birmingham City Team News:
From the BBC:
Lee Bowyer, David Bentley, Keith Fahey, Stephen Carr, Liam Ridgewell, Craig Gardner and Nikola Zigic are all rated doubtful for Birmingham.
lexander Hleb, Scott Dann and James McFadden are out and a late decision will be made on Barry Ferguson, who has had an injection to ease a broken rib
Player to watch: Ben Foster
Well, after that lot above, it is difficult to suggest Birmingham have got anyone to play, let alone watch. But let’s go for the England goalkeeper, man of the match in two League Cup finals, unfortunate to find Edwin van der Sar in front of him at Old Trafford and a wonderfully capable goalkeeper. Hopefully he will get a lot of shot stopping practice in between picking the ball out of his net.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
The possibility that St Owen will mix it up always remains, but the hope is that he will play his strongest side, meaning Mark Davies and Holden in the middle, Lee on the right, Petrov or Taylor on the left and SuperKevinDavies and Klasnic up front.
Jussi is in line for his 500th appearance for the club but I feel that he will go with Adam Bogdan in net, leaving the Big Finn to reach the milestone at Old Trafford next weekend.
Player to watch: Ivan Klasnic
The FA Cup has been good for Big Ivan and he has scored half of his goals this season in the cups. St Owen has already said that he feels sorry for him and, although he is a similar player to the captain, he is more on form than the Juventus target.
Match Facts & Stats
Bolton’s first ever game against Birmingham was in the FA Cup back in 1894, even before Birmingham City were known as Birmingham City. A 4-3 win at Muntz Street in the first round was one of only three times that the clubs have met in the FA Cup. The second was in the third round in 1930, with Birmingham running out 1-0 victors. The third and final time was in 1955, where a Willie Moir goal wasn’t enough in another defeat, this time 2-1.
Overall, we’ve won thirteen times at Birmingham, but are leading overall 47-39, and did win the league fixture there last season.
Bolton’s leading scorer in the fixture is George Gibson with ten between 1927 and 1932.
As mentioned, if Jussi Jaaskelainen does play, it will be his 500th for Bolton Wanderers.
Phil Dowd has his knockers, possibly because he is one of the most infuriatingly inconsistent referees in the Premier League. Good one day, atrocious the next and as he is one of the most recognisable referees in the league, this is a problem.
He shows yellows at an average of just under four per game and has shown nine red cards this season, although none have gone to any Bolton players this season. Indeed, he has only ever sent off Tal Ben-Haim back in 2006.
We’ve had him three times this season, the draw at home to United, the draw away at Everton and the league game at home to Wigan. Total Bolton yellow card count this season: 3
2-0 2-0, 2-0 2-0, 2-0 2-0, 2-0 2-0. Sung to the tune of 2-0 2-0, 2-0 2-0, 2-0 2-0, 2-0, 2-0
Some team from Stretford next Saturday.