Despite talk of this weekend’s fixture being postponed, Fabrice Muamba and his family have insisted Bolton continue their quest to avoid relegation and play the game against local rivals Blackburn Rovers who also find themselves battling it out at the foot of the table.
Bolton have yet to play since their ordeal last weekend at White Hart Lane, an incident which has united the world of football, as we all wish Fabrice Muamba a speedy recovery and applaud those who saved the midfielders life.
Blackburn go in to the game having taken seven points from their last three games, most recent was their home win against Sunderland on Tuesday, a game which they completely dominated to boost their survival chances.
Steve Kean will be hoping his team can record their third consecutive win, something Blackburn have failed to do for the past four seasons. And coincidentally the last time they did so, Blackburn’s 2nd win came at home to Sunderland and their 3rd away at Bolton, surely lightening cannot strike twice?
Bolton will be hoping to complete a double over Blackburn for the first time since the 1977/78 season with all their players apart from Muamba available for selection.
Rovers are expected to line up with the same starting 11 which has seen them win their last two games. However Gael Givet is a doubt with a slight hamstring injury.
The East Lancashire derby looks set to be one of the biggest games of the season for more reasons than one. Both teams will be hoping to avoid defeat as they look to avoid the drop, but most people will be looking to see the reaction of the Bolton players after last week’s trauma. Will the experience galvanize Owen Coyle’s men or will their minds be focused elsewhere?
Statistics say the first goal could be vital as Bolton are undefeated in every game they have scored first this season. In contrast they have taken just three points from the 20 games in which they conceded the first goal.
Blackburn have scored more goals than any other team outside the top five and are looking to record their third consecutive clean sheet having conceded goals in each of their previous 27 league games.