Date:Saturday October 21 2006
22nd October 2006
Bolton make the short trip to Ewood Park to contest, what will inevitably be a fiery Lancashire Hot Pot.
Bolton are flying high in the league and sit in third place on merit. They have one of the meanest defences having only conceded four Premiership goals to date. However, goals aren`t normally on the menu when Bolton play, nor do they arrive in an abundance in these fixtures.
In Bolton`s opening nine games this season a poultry sum of thirteen goals have been scored, nine for and four against. Equalled with that recent results between the two sides, and it would be easy to anticipate a tight game.
Rovers will still be on a high after the drama on Thursday night that brought about a second straight European win but may feel drained. Rovers have been scoring regularly and the last time they failed to register was in the away fixture at Sheff Utd.
Mark Hughes on form: 'Top players have to be ready to turn around their performances and go again in a short space of time.
'If we can guard against that tiredness in our minds then we can certainly give Bolton a good game.
'We have made our best start in years and are on a decent run.
'We want to keep it going, and the way we are playing there is no reason why we cannot do that.'
Sam Allardyce on Bolton`s form: 'For the first time we could break the 20-point barrier in our first phase of 10 games.
'That's if we continue to grow in the next few games and keep this form going. We have come through a difficult period very strongly.
'But we cannot get carried away. We just have to keep our feet on the ground and keep playing like we are at the moment.'
Mark Hughes hopes to name an unchanged line-up for the third consecutive game. However, he will have to wait to assess the fitness of a couple of key players before naming his team.
UEFA Cup goal scoring heroes, David Bentley and Robbie Savage will have late fitness tests after picking up slight knocks in mid-week.
Aside from long-term absentees, Ryan Nelsen and Steven Reid, and the loan departure of Andy Taylor, Hughes has no fresh injury worries to contend with.
Rovers (from): Friedel, Neill, Khizanishvili, Tugay, Emerton, Savage, Bentley, Nonda, McCarthy, Pedersen, Mokoena, Jeffers, Gallagher, Ooijer, Brown, Gray, Peter, McEveley, Roberts.
The hugely talented Norwegian is still struggling for form after last season`s sensational displays. His only previous notable performance to date was against Man City, the first time we played after a European match.
In that particular UEFA Cup game Gamst was substituted early, just as he was on Thursday. He turned in an energetic display against Man City and Rovers fans will be hoping for a similar return on Sunday.
High flying, physical Bolton have no fresh injuries to worry about. Sam Allardyce is likely to name the same team that performed so well away at Newcastle last time out.
Nicolas Anelka is beginning to look settled with his forward partners, the controversial El-Hadji Diouf and former Rovers flop, Kevin Davies.
All three strikers will want to score for their own personal reasons, none more so than Kevin Davies.
Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Meite, Faye, Ben Haim, Fortune, Giannakopoulos, Campo, Speed, Nolan, Diouf, Davies, Anelka, Walker, Vaz Te, Tal.
We were thwarted last weekend by a former striker so I`m sure Hughes will be briefing the players not to let a similar situation arise on Sunday.
Things never quite worked out for Davies whilst he was at Rovers. He is a confidence player and once things went bad there was no way back for him. However, he has recovered under the stewardship of miracle worker Sam Allardyce and is now a respected professional in England`s top division.
His physical presence will be particularly troubling for the home defence. This will be one afternoon that Nelsen will be missed.
Seven out of the fourteen Premiership meetings between these two sides have ended in draws.
A win for Rovers would make it their best start to a season since the 1997-1998 season.
Rovers have not beaten Bolton at home since Bolton`s return to the top flight. There have been two wins for Bolton and three draws.
Rovers have the second worse home defence this season, only Middlesbrough has conceded more goals at home.
Rovers have received the most cards this season, 22 in all.
Bolton have four games in succession.
Head to head totals.
Home and away
League: Blackburn 48 wins, Bolton 55, Draws 31
Prem: Blackburn 3 wins, Bolton 4, Draws 7
at Blackburn only
League: Blackburn 34 wins, Bolton 19, Draws 14
Prem: Blackburn 2 wins, Bolton 2, Draws 3
Sunday`s match will be refereed by out-of-control Mike Dean. Rovers fans will remember he was the man who awarded Sheff Utd two very soft penalties in the same match earlier in the season. He has produced 15 yellow cards and 2 red cards this season in his 15 games.
Rovers have had a knack of bouncing back well from the rigours of European football by winning their subsequent fixtures against a lacklustre Man City and resilient Wigan. However, Bolton will provide a much sterner test. They are third in the league for a reason and don`t concede many goals. The first goal will definitely be the key in this fixture. If Bolton take the lead then Rovers will have to work very hard to get themselves back into the game. However, Rovers are well suited to deal with Bolton and their extra bit of quality may be the difference. It will be a closely fought game but will surprisingly have plenty of goals. A 2-2 score line will be a fair reflection.
Chelsea at Ewood Park on the 25th October 2006 in the League Cup.
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Date:Saturday October 21 2006
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