Date: 11th December 2010 at 2:29pm
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On Sky

The return of Sam Allardyce (not to mention El Hadji Diouf) to The Reebok is always something special due to him being the most successful manager of the modern era. It seemed strange seeing him in the oppositon dugout when he was Newcastle manager and it will be doubly so in his first return to the ground where he made his managerial name as a Blackburn manager.

The team that he is up against is a great deal changed from the one that he left just over three short years ago, with only Jussi Jaaskelainen and Kevin Davies lining up for the home side. However, it seems more like a lifetime.

Vital Quotes:

He put the foundations in place to enjoy ten successive years in the Premier League. The job he did was second to none.’ For once, maybe, the glowing testament from St Owen Coyle may well have been earnt.

The best time Bolton had was with Sam. It’s not now. Now Bolton are winning games and people are talking about them. But I can tell you something, the season is long and a lot of things can happen. That’s why today I say I think we will catch Bolton soon. I still keep my eyes open for them, of course, so I know what they can do.’ Dioufy. Being Dioufy.

Bolton Wanderers Team News:

Stuart Holden may or may not play due to his troublesome thigh, so Mark Davies may continue his run in the team. Matty Taylor and Martin Petrov continue to battle it out for the left midfield role.

Player to watch: Johan Elmander

Now he has said what his intentions are regarding his contract, now is the time to show that he deserves to have the right to be leaving the club dangling. If he wants to show prosepective buyers in January, then he has to continue scoring. And the same applies if he wants to show his arse and go in the summer.

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

According the the BBC, Martin Olsson is available. I didn’t even know he wasn’t. David Dunn, that sneaky last minute change of minder, appears to have recovered from whatever forced him off last weekend, but I can’t be bothered finding out what that was. Not that I haven’t got the time, I just don’t care.

Player to watch: El Hadji Diouf

Whether he starts or not, the player who makes Robbie Savage (no, the other one) look like the most respected player in football will get a reception at the ground that he ‘graced’ for four years. Ever the cult hero, it won’t bother him whether he gets a good one or a bad one.

Match Facts & Stats

Although much has been made of the fact that Bolton haven’t beaten Blackburn at home since 2000, we still hold a 36-17 home record against them, and also hold the overall league record 56-53.

Obviously, when it comes to the Premier League, the record is a little more sketchy, Blackburn leading 8-5, while at T’Reebok it’s 4-2 to the Rovers.

Bolton’s leading overall scorer is David Jack with 12, whilst the leading Premier League scorers are SuperKevinDavies and Kevin Nolan with three apiece.

Gretar Steinsson, Gary Cahill and Fabrice Muamba could all be playing their hundreth game for Bolton tomorrow.

Ref Watch:

Mark Clusterberg. We’ve only had calamity Mark once this season so far, the League Cup tie at North Dingleshire, and look how well that turned out. Even in a game where we didn’t really try, he still managed to book Tamir Cohen and Mark Davies.

You will recall the captain’s comments about Clattenburg after he was penalised for not pushing Brede Hangeland last season at Craven Cottage:

‘Every time he referees us, I don’t expect to get anything.’

Clattenburg was also the referee when Steven Gerrard got away (and not for the last time) with GBH, when he used Kevin Nolan’s chest as a springboard back in January 2006.

So, here’s a good idea by the league. Give him a derby that involves the former manager of one club now managing the other. Genius.

Expect cards.

Match Prediction:

2-0. I may not get the amount of money I would have got if we had won by this score last week, but it’ll still buy Mrs X a nice shrug.

Next Fixtures:

Up to the north east to take on the resurgent Sunderland next Saturday.

 

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