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Bolton Back In Action Against Local Rivals

By Rob
Friday 23rd March 2012
In the aftermath of a week that ranks amongst the toughest in Bolton Wanderers' recent history, the team to return to action with a Premier League clash at home to Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers on Saturday (March 24).

One week on from Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest at White Hart Lane during the FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham Hotspur, no-one knows quite how the midfielder's teammates will react. The media furore that has surrounded the incident, with manager Owen Coyle and other club representatives all over the media every day, has far overshadowed footballing matters. To be cynical for a second, the London and Manchester-centric media titles hardly ever want to talk about Bolton, so it's somewhat of a shock for The Trotters to be in the media limelight.

Now is the time for the team to pull together and refocus on issues on the pitch. The on-field footballing matters, while paling into insignificance when compared to that of Muamba's well-being, are hugely important for Bolton. The resurgence of Blackburn and Queens Park Rangers' ridiculous 3-2 victory over a pathetic Liverpool in midweek leave Wanderers now sitting in the relegation zone, two points behind QPR and 5 points behind Rovers.

So a win is crucial for Wanderers, who will hopefully be inspired by the news that Muamba is recovering much quicker than expected and deliver the result for him. A win would be huge for the hosts, with the floundering form of Wigan and, in particular, Wolves the only bonus for worried Trotters fans.

All Bolton players are expected to make themselves available for this huge Lancashire derby, and it is the big characters of players like Kevin Davies that will galvanise the squad. While not on the best of form this season, this could well be the moment for the Wanderers captain to step up, take the lead and deliver a huge performance for the club.

Blackburn fans' ridiculously premature and persistent calls for 'Kean Out' earlier in the season seem to have been muffled by their recent turnaround in form. The Reebok visitors have won consecutive matches for the first time under Kean, doing so with back-to-back clean sheets, the first time they've achieved that feat since August 2010. They head into this clash high on confidence and will be convinced they can take advantage of any weariness and lack of focus in the Bolton squad.

It probably won't be pretty but it is likely to be tense and hard-fought, in what is a huge fixture for both these relegation strugglers. But come on Bolton, lets #WinForFabrice.
Rob

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