Friday, August 18, 2006

Bolton preview: A stalemate looks likely

Well we've been waiting for the season to start for long enough and there is now less than 24 hours until we kick off the new campaign at the Reebok Stadium. Not one of our happiest hunting grounds in recent years, as we haven't won there in the league since 1996. However, let's hope that things change tomorrow (although I'm not convinced they will).

As well as missing King and Tainio, we have injury doubts over Keane and Gardner, so I'm expecting us to start with: Robbo, Young-Pyo (swapping to right back), Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, Davenport, Lennon, Jenas, Davids (filling in on the left as he often did last season), Berbatov and Defoe.

I think after our strong pre-season and Bolton's weaker one, not to mention their lack of strong summer signings, we're liable to do better than we have on recent trips to the North-west. That said Big Sam's teams are always difficult to beat so I will predict a 1-1 draw. After all, both Spurs and Bolton were the draw specialists last season, with only Aston Villa finishing all square more often than the two of us.

As the season progresses I actually think Bolton may struggle a little - not relegation fodder, but I don't think we'll see their usual European push. I think Allardyce may become a little stale after missing out on the England and Newcastle jobs. He is the third longest serving Premiership manager and I think he'll have moved on by this time next year.

No comments: