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[Archived] Bolton vs Rovers


cn174

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12th Season – will we make it?

It is just over 11 years since that glorious 4-1 away victory at the Breezeblock which saw Rovers leapfrog Bolton into 2nd place in the then Nationwide Division 1. It was sealed off by one of my favourite Rovers goals from Craig Hignett curling a free kick into the top corner. With players such as Jansen, Duff, Dunn, Hignett, Berkovic in the team you could sense there was exciting times ahead. Both Rovers and Bolton got promoted at the end of the season.

I was hoping to resurrect my Bolton vs Rovers map but it is broken :( If I fix it I'll add the link later

This Season

It is all a distant memory now as Rovers and Bolton are fighting it out to remain in the Premierleague in a season which for both teams can only be described as ######! Anyone who reckons they’ve enjoyed this season is lying! Below are our respective league positions for this season in graph format (up until before tonight)

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The game at Ewood was probably one of the defining moments of our season, not so much in terms of the result (got beat again, meh) but the general perception of Rovers in the stupid media. As much as I try not to read/listen it’s very difficult when accusations of ‘worst abuse ever heard at a match’ are being thrown around and all and sundry come out in defence of Coco :@. And to this day it’s still being said.

The January transfer window wasn’t great for either team imo. Bolton lost Cahill and replaced him with Ream who has made just four appearances. They also signed Rio Miyaichi and Marvin Sordell – neither of which have had a massive impact that I can see. If that was bad, ours was worse, with our star signing being Bradley Orr, complemented by Marcus Ollson (surely only signed because we’d run out of ideas so asked around if anyone’s brother would like a game). Then just to make things worse we sold Samba out of the window just incase there was anyone good around to replace him. (btw this was written before Bradley Orr set up Yakubu’s second goal!).

Recent Form

Both teams have had a (slight) upturn in recent weeks. Bolton won their first home game in yonks against QPR whilst Rovers have well beaten fellow strugglers Wolves (they’re shocking) away and tonight Sunderland at home. This leaves Rovers six points clear of the relegation zone and a result against Bolton would do us the world of good!

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Obviously the other news of the week has been the collapse of Fabrice Muamba at Spurs on Saturday. Thankfully at this time he looks to be on the mend and we wish him all the best.

Q&A

Instead my map I did a Q&A with three Bolton fans I know and got some very good answers back (which is a surprise seeing as they're Bolton fans) In order - Neil, Godfrey and Lee. So thanks to them :)

So, how's the season been so far? (lol)

To say the season has been a disappointment is an understatement as we all had high hopes with OC bringing his style of play to the club.

As soon as the fixture were announced I think a lot of Bolton fans knew it was going to be a long season. In our first 10 games we played all the top 5-6 teams, Manchester United, Manchester City Liverpool and so on but as a real surprise we started off well with a fantastic 4-0 win against QPR. As a newly promoted team i think most Bolton fans would have been happy with a point. As the season progressed we didn’t pick up any points against the big teams like we used too. The confidence of the team become so low that we started losing games such as Norwich at home 1-2. These are the games that define your season. Christmas was fast approaching and we were at the foot of the table and what game would choose who sat bottom of the league at xmas..Blackburn v Bolton! You can count on one hand the amount of 'classics' this fixture has produced but for Bolton fans we really did believe this was a turning point in our season running out 1-2 winners. It proved to be in vain as we won one of our next five games. As the season moved on we have shown glimpses of our old selves with a 3-1 victory against a strong Liverpool side but nothing compared to the days of Big Sam.

It’s been like a rollercoaster, only with more down’s than ups. We started the season well, first with a very convincing 4-0 win away at QPR and then a narrow loss at home to Manchester City 3-2. I thought at that point, this could be a season to finish in the top 10, or even push for a Europa league spot. Then winning only 2 fixtures in the next 12 league games soon saw us drop to the bottom 4 where we’ve been all season. Obviously one major factor would be the injuries that have hit the squad; not having a full strength team all season has definitely made a difference, especially with the way that some of our key players who have been out influence the style of play. It’s definitely been an underperforming season so far, especially when you look at what the manager and the individual talent our squad has to offer.

What has gone wrong since last year?

We lost our top goal scorer and the loss of Holden and Lee in midfield have been a major blow especially Holden who was our player of the year last season, he really made things tick.

Our performance in the FA cup semi against Stoke City cut really deep into the fans, players and the manager. We were a complete disgrace to the club. Some fans say it’s the worst thing that could have happen to us as we picked up just three points from that game until the end of the season. Also Coyle made very little movement in the transfer window players like Paul Robinson were not moved on and i think we became very stale. We lost Johan Elmander and we didnt realise what a good player he was until he left! We also replaced him with David N'Gog...enough said.

First thing would be not having key players such as Stuart Holden and Chung-Yong Lee available, both players put in 110% every game and greatly influence our style of play, We also lost a huge talent in Daniel Sturridge who was a natural goal scorer and could create goals out of nothing. Although N’gog has great hold up play and improves every game, he hasn’t yet come through as a natural goal threat, which I’m hoping to see soon. This isn’t though, our biggest problem. I’m disappointed with the passion and drive some of our players have shown this season; I’ve watched far too many under-par performances this season from some of the big names in our squad. When you watch them week in, week out, you pick up the ‘can’t be bothered’ vibes the players give out, and instead of fighting to come from behind and win games, or hold the lead or a draw I’ve seen them give up – which is one of the reasons we are in the bottom 4.

Best and worst player this season?

Best player? That’s a difficult one as the whole team have been pretty average although we did sell our most consistent player Gary Cahill to Chelsea.

Our best player has been Mark Davies by a considerable margin. He's quick, confident and can score goals.

Our worse player(s)lol has been Paul Robinson. He looked old and off the pace hence his loan move the Championship side Leeds.

Best player without a doubt has to be Mark Davies. And I don’t think many would disagree. He has been a work horse this season and hardly puts a foot wrong, and if he does he makes up for it; he really is the Steven Gerrard of BWFC. He has shown the most passion and fight this season out of any player at Bolton, and has cemented himself as a Fans Favourite. Worst Player is a tough one, and I’m struggling to choose one, not out of bias, but due to the amount of players I feel have underperformed. If I really had to choose, I’d probably pick Tuncay

I've heard there's been a few grumbles about Coyle - do you still think he's the man for the job?

The jury is still out. Team selection and formation appear to be up in the air some weeks, we just don’t know what to expect and wonder if OC does too.

The problem with Owen Coyle is that he one of ours. He played for us, he loves the club more than any manager we've ever had but he isn’t a premier league manager. He's tactics are poor and often his subs are wrong. IMO. He seems to let his heart rule his head. He only seems to play the players that he's signed i.e Tim Ream when Zat Knight is a far far better player than him!

It’s one of those where you change your mind every now and then I think. You see a few good performances and Barcelona-like football (I wish) and you think Coyle is the man for the job. Then you see some ridiculous decisions, such as making a few team & position changes at the loss to Wigan at home. I really don’t know why he made changes to the team when we were coming off a run of 3 wins and a draw, of which the draw was at home to Arsenal, and a win against Liverpool and Swansea – 3 very strong teams, all performing well at the time. Taking Eagles off after 55 minutes and putting on Tuncay who has done nothing every time he has played, starting Kevin Davies which changes our style of attack straight away just lowered our chances of a win from the off. I could add a few more gripes such as players being out of position at times throughout the season, but I’m not a manager so I’m sure he had his reasons.

In general though, I like Coyle and I want him to stay, he has changed the way we play, we are more exciting to watch when we are at our best and he has a great relationship with the players and is a massive presence at the club with a no nonsense attitude. BWFC has a big place in his heart, and that’s something we can use to our advantage as a club, being in the position we are at the moment will be hitting him hard, and no one will be more frustrated than he is, and he has definitely given a few players the hair dryer treatment when they aren’t earning their wages on the pitch. I seriously think we will come good in the end, and become the solid premiership team we were under Allardyce.

What do you think of Rovers this year (be nice!)?

Pretty much the same as us in terms of league position so I guess you’re in the same (chicken gravy) boat, that said you come from good stock so should pull through, just.

To be honest Blackburn have done no more or no less than excepted. I knew your team was weak on paper as you didn’t add too much to it over summer although Yakubu has been one of the signing of the season and with Ste Kean you have a very good coach but not a manager.

Being a typical Bolton Fan, it doesn’t upset me to see Blackburn were they are, and go through what they have so far this season, both on and off the pitch. However, I feel they should be higher up the table than they are at the moment, they have the ability to play well and grind out good results, and to be honest have shown more fight for survival than we have at times this season, and if you had a bit more luck, or didn’t concede as often late on in games you’d be around 15 points better off. A massive factor effecting your season has obviously been the Steve Kean issue, as well as the owners. I don’t think the owners are right for the club, or have enough interest in the wellbeing of Blackburn Rovers. It was definitely just a business venture for them. I don’t know what to think of Steve Kean, he hasn’t got the experience to deal with the current issues, but is a passionate man and if given time he could pull through and lead Blackburn back up to where they should be.

You have obviously lost a few big names, such as Jones and Samba who made you solid at the back which obviously has an effect on any team. You have some great individual talent, namely Dunn, Hoillet and now the mighty Yak, all of which you need to keep hold of if you are to build a team around and establish yourself back into the top half of the league every season.

Any of our players you'd like in your team?

I think Junior Hoilett would be a good attrition to our squad and I know OC has looked at him once or twice so expect another approach at the end of the season.

One player and one player only Junior Hoilett. He can take a man on, score, pass, head and hes quick

Hoillet! A young, exiting player with bags of confidence and flair. You’ll be lucky to keep him in my opinion.

This will be the 160th game between Bolton and Rovers - are there any of the previous fixtures that stand out for you?

I’m glad you asked that question and yes the season we won promotion back to the old 1st Division during the 1977-78 season now that was a night to remember. With a massive following and Bolton fans in every side of the ground as the Darwen End was full, Frankie Worthington drilled the ball home to earn a 0-1 victory.

Obviously the fixture last season when Stu Holden cancelled out your last minute goal but my personal favourite was the 4-3 thriller at Ewood Park. ( sorry cant remember the date)

I remember the game in 2003/4 I think it was when we won 4-3 and Nolan scored his first of 2 after around 15 seconds to put us 1-0 up. Then the partnership of Cole and York dominated and took you into a 3-1 lead before we turned things around in the second half to get the goals and win 4-3, not forgetting Djorkaeff’s beautiful lob over Brad Friedel and Stelios "was he, wasn’t he" offside goal to equalise. Being at the game has ensured I will never forget that one. Also, I cannot forget our win this season which we so desperately needed at the time.

If you could pick one Bolton player from the past to be in your starting line up on Saturday who would it be?

Fabrice Muamba.

Youri Djorkaeff or Ivan Campo

Too many to mention, Okocha, Anelka, Campo, Sturridge etc. Anelka and Sturridge up front would be lovely.

Onto the game, what is your likely line up and what do you think the score is going to be?

Bogdan, Steinsson, Wheater, Ream, Ricketts, Reo-Coker, Mark Davies, Pratley, Miyaichi (loan from Arsenal) Petrov, N’Gog. A close game although I do expect us to win 2-1 and dedicate the victory to Fabrice Muamba.

Bogdan, Ricketts, Ream, Wheater, Steinsson, Petrov, M.Davies, Reo-coker, Ryo, N'gog, Klasnic

I think the game will be very fast from the word go. I cant see either team holding back we both desperately need the win and we'll both go out for it. 3-2 bolton. You'll go one up Yak..then Petrov & N’Gog..Dunn on the stroke of half time then Klasnic in the second half for us

Line up would have to be Bogdan, Ricketts, Wheater or Knight , Ream, Alonso, Eagles, Reo-Coker, M Davies, Ryo, N’Gog and Klasnic. I wouldn’t normally put in Klasnic, but he’s coming off a very important goal and will fancy more. I want to see Sordell start a game, a quick lad with trickery and good finishing ability is what we need right now to feed off N’Gog ever improving hold up and distribution play.

In terms of a Score, home win 3-1. I don’t think the score line will reflect the game, it’s going to be very even and probably a passionate affair, as is always the case with an important 6 pointer local derby.

Finally, how is it all going to end? Who is going down?

Wolves, Wigan and QPR

As it is QPR Wigan Wolves

I would like to see Bolton get some points in quick succession and turn the bottom 5 into the bottom 4. But I also think Blackburn could do that. Bottom 3 will be……

QPR/BLACKBURN

WIGAN

WOLVES

It really is too hard to call, looking at Wigan’s games remaining it’s going to be very tough for them, QPR have also got a very tough run in, but have the quality in the squad to pull out of the bottom 3. Blackburn show a lot of fight at times and, like QPR have the squad to avoid relegation. It’s all down to who wants it more, once the managers have picked the team; it’s down to the players to decide the clubs fate. Who wants it more?

The Game

5000 Rovers fans will be making the short journey to Horwich for the game on Saturday and it will be an excellent atmosphere. I’d love to see a win but I think it’s going to be 1-1 and hopefully Rovers will make it to that 12th season in the PL.

COYB!!

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http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/football/893737-owen-coyle-to-decide-whether-bolton-players-are-ready-for-blackburn-match

Bolton have purposely waited until last nights result...

Now I can see the game being postponed due to our win

If we had lost however I think it would of been game on!!

I hope I’m not wrong but really can’t see it being called off. With the guy improving I think from their point of view not playing would seriously harm their chances of staying up.

If it is called off they will have to play spurs again at white hart lane, a game which may go to another replay, already need to reschedule villa game, if beat spurs will have a two leg semi final so potentially if call our game off they will have to fit in a maximum 6 mid week games (with replays/semi etc) and think with that extra lot staying up would be all but impossible for them.

Also if they didn’t need extra incentive to beat us, in a relegation bonanza the opportunity to “beat rovers for muamba” will fire them up and a better chance of turning us over.

We’ll see..

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Great preview Claire.

Let's see if the trio promoted in 2001 can still keep their PL statuses intact- an absolutely remarkable and unparalleled achievement thus far.

If it goes ahead, the entire world outside Blackburn will be roaring Notlob onto victory.

Still a must not lose fixture for Rovers regardless of Muamba. Going to be a very very tough one emotionally and physically.

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I hope I’m not wrong but really can’t see it being called off. With the guy improving I think from their point of view not playing would seriously harm their chances of staying up.

If it is called off they will have to play spurs again at white hart lane, a game which may go to another replay, already need to reschedule villa game, if beat spurs will have a two leg semi final so potentially if call our game off they will have to fit in a maximum 6 mid week games (with replays/semi etc) and think with that extra lot staying up would be all but impossible for them.

Also if they didn’t need extra incentive to beat us, in a relegation bonanza the opportunity to “beat rovers for muamba” will fire them up and a better chance of turning us over.

We’ll see..

In the FA Cup? Don't think so

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Game goes ahead!

Rovers will lose this one. Bolton will want it more for obvious reasons. Added to that, I expect the Rovers players to ease up in the thought that we are now 6 above the drop zone just as Sunderland took it easy last night.

Football is as much about mental attitude as it is footballing ability.

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Could go either way, I can imagine everyone connected with Bolton have had a draining week.

They could be mentally shot on Saturday.

Adrenalin will be pumping especially when repects are paid to Muamba just before the match. They'll be up for this game like they've never been up for a game before.

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Adrenalin will be pumping especially when repects are paid to Muamba just before the match. They'll be up for this game like they've never been up for a game before.

So will we, its a derby match. I think we will win this 2-1 or 3-2. Our players confidence is growing by the min so they will also be well up for it

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Adrenalin will be pumping especially when repects are paid to Muamba just before the match. They'll be up for this game like they've never been up for a game before.

Whilst I agree with this there are several ways in which this could manifest itself. Too much emotion could lead to poor discipline (both tactically and in challenges). It could affect them in adverse ways as well as positive ways.

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It’ll be an emotional occasion for Bolton fans/players, I expect Bolton to come at us hard. The first 20 minutes are crucial, if we get through the first 20 minutes then there’s a chance that we can get a result.

If Bolton get a quick goal then it’ll be important that we don’t concede a second, if the game is close going into the last 20 minutes then Bolton will start to panic, it is imperative that we play as a unit and close down Bolton all over the pitch. It should be a great atmosphere with 5000 Rovers fans.

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I actually believe the way for Rovers to approach this game is to go for it from the off. Yes, Bolton players will be emotionally charged but they will also be a little bit drained after what has gone before. The tension will be evident because the game is such an important one for both teams.

Bolton will be going for the win because of our current gap in the points accrued box. They will also be wanting to win for FM and their fans and it is clear that because of those 2 points why Rovers have to score first. A Rovers goal will drain them completely and it will also make them wide open in the middle.

Its going to be an emotional roller coaster of a game and one which I think we may see the old regime of a Bolton win at Ewood being rewarded with a Rovers win at the block.

Can Rovers make it 3 on the bounce ? I am not too sure myself but I will ne hoping Mr Kean and co continue their resurgence and send 5k Blue and Whites home happy.

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Really good preview, Clare; thanks.

1 point is the minimum requirement from this one, but I think we can win it. Coyle's team talk will be dead easy, but I think that Bolt-on will be so desperate to "win for Muamba" that they'll be trying too hard. Also, while the words "Rovers", "on" "a" and "roll" don't often spring to mind, I'm sure last night's result will give us an impetus. It'll be an emotionally charged occasion, that's for certain; but if our lads can be professional and not let the circumstances get to them, we can bring home all three points.

Which could be really crucial because the other relevant fixtures on Saturday are interesting: Wigan, Wolves & QPR are all away - to Liverpool, Norwich City & Sunderland respectively. Wigan and Wolves are so poor at scoring goals and I can't imagine that, even with the Cup replay on the horizon, O'Neill will tolerate the Mackems dropping three points at home to a team just above the relegation zone. And let's not forget, the gap between us and Villa could be down to 2 points if Arsenal do the business against them at the Emirates.

Plus, the table doesn't lie; we're almost mid-table ;) while Bolton are in the relegation zone! Who knows; the European place we were promised could almost be within touching distance by 5.00 on Saturday! :D Oh, God; my medication's wearing off again!

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Really good preview, Clare; thanks.

1 point is the minimum requirement from this one, but I think we can win it. Coyle's team talk will be dead easy, but I think that Bolt-on will be so desperate to "win for Muamba" that they'll be trying too hard. Also, while the words "Rovers", "on" "a" and "roll" don't often spring to mind, I'm sure last night's result will give us an impetus. It'll be an emotionally charged occasion, that's for certain; but if our lads can be professional and not let the circumstances get to them, we can bring home all three points.

Which could be really crucial because the other relevant fixtures on Saturday are interesting: Wigan, Wolves & QPR are all away - to Liverpool, Norwich City & Sunderland respectively. Wigan and Wolves are so poor at scoring goals and I can't imagine that, even with the Cup replay on the horizon, O'Neill will tolerate the Mackems dropping three points at home to a team just above the relegation zone. And let's not forget, the gap between us and Villa could be down to 2 points if Arsenal do the business against them at the Emirates.

Plus, the table doesn't lie; we're almost mid-table ;) while Bolton are in the relegation zone! Who knows; the European place we were promised could almost be within touching distance by 5.00 on Saturday! :D Oh, God; my medication's wearing off again!

I have us to finish above Villa this season!!!

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I actually believe the way for Rovers to approach this game is to go for it from the off. Yes, Bolton players will be emotionally charged but they will also be a little bit drained after what has gone before. The tension will be evident because the game is such an important one for both teams.

Bolton will be going for the win because of our current gap in the points accrued box. They will also be wanting to win for FM and their fans and it is clear that because of those 2 points why Rovers have to score first. A Rovers goal will drain them completely and it will also make them wide open in the middle.

Its going to be an emotional roller coaster of a game and one which I think we may see the old regime of a Bolton win at Ewood being rewarded with a Rovers win at the block.

Can Rovers make it 3 on the bounce ? I am not too sure myself but I will ne hoping Mr Kean and co continue their resurgence and send 5k Blue and Whites home happy.

I agree our approach should be attacking and pressing them. We look a much better team when we do this than when we drop off and try to defend.with the points gap we can afford to draw or lose, which puts all the pressure on them.

With it being a derby game and with c5k Rovers fans in the ground we can negate the Muamba effect, and getting a early goal could really unravel them.looking forward to the game, something I haven't felt for a long time.

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And so its on....

The script is written for a Bolton win. It now depends on if Rovers have read it?

Hopefully we are not going to take our foot off the gas and think that the last 2 victories have pulled us far enough away.

This game is massive, if we win and results go for us, could we dare to dream that it becomes 3 from 4?

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