Morning all. It is Bolton in a little over four hours and if ever we needed a home win, today is the day. The football of late hasn't exactly given us much hope but generally, on occasion, we have seen glimpses of what some of our players are capable of, so there is hope.
Stephen Warnock has put in some very good performances lately, Ashley Young is likely to come good again very soon and we all know Gabby can score, so it's only a matter of time before that happens. Defensively, we are also extremely solid, so we can take some confidence that we might not let that many in. It all starts from the back you know.
My only real concern for today is how we set ourselves up to play. Bolton are known to pay five in the middle on their travels and I'm not convinced we have the personnel to play four in the middle, especially against teams that play five. Some teams can; Barcelona can play three aginast five, they do most weeks, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea can also do it, because they have so much quality. We don't have that same quality.
We can though sometimes and it is quite possible that O'Neill will line up the lads to play 442 today. If he does, we are going to need all that fight and determination that a Martin O'Neill side is known for if we are to have any chance.
Bottom line, we can't beat Bolton playing football if they have five in the middle. We can beat them if we give 100% for 95 minutes and play the long ball and counter attacking football that we are getting used to and if Bolton are having an off day. If Bolton come firing on all cylinders, playing five in the middle, we won't beat them unless we play five in the middle also. It is hard thing to accept, but that is where we are at the moment.
But, Bolton might have an off day and we might have our game of the season. At PaddyPower you'll get 8/11 for a home win and 4/1 on an away win today so the bookmakers fancy us and they are in it to make money.
Anyway, just under four hours to kick off now, I must get a late breakfast and I will update this page with team news and some other links before kick off. I just hope for three points today.
Nigel Reo-Coker captains the side today, which is a massive reversal of fortune for the players who went face to face with the manager recently. I still fancy he'll be off though, just a case of when.
Friedel, Luke Young, Cuellar, Dunne, Warnock, Ashley Young, Reo-Coker, Sidwell, Milner, Carew, Agbonlahor.
Subs: Guzan, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Delph, Shorey, Gardner, Clark.