Wounded Bolton will be keen to make amends
PUBLISHED: 11:18 17 September 2011
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City boss Paul Lambert knows his players must brace themselves for a Bolton backlash today as their hosts bid to bounce back from a hat-trick of batterings by the Premier League’s big guns.
Owen Coyle’s team have conceded 11 goals in successive defeats at the hands of Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United, giving them the worst defensive record in the division.
But Lambert knows that after an unbroken decade in the top flight, Bolton are still a force to be reckoned with on home territory, where only one newly-promoted side has beaten them in the past 10 seasons.
“If you look at the teams they’ve played, the two Manchester clubs are vying for the league and in European competitions. Liverpool are going really well under Kenny Dalglish so it’s not a disgrace when you’re getting turned over by that calibre of team,” said Lambert.
“You would think there’s going to be some sort of reaction. I’m not going up there thinking that Bolton are going to be lying down. They’ll come out of the traps and the crowd will come expecting it. I’m sure Owen will expect a reaction from them. I know that’s something we have to withstand.”
Lambert confirmed both James Vaughan and Anthony Pilkington were fit for selection. Vaughan has recovered from a badly gashed lip, after having stitches in the cut suffered, courtesy of a flying elbow from West Bromwich Albion defender Gabriel Tamas, who was handed a three-match ban by the FA for violent conduct.
“He’s probably better looking now,” joked Lambert. “Yes, he’s OK. He got a nasty one on his mouth but he is available.”
Pilkington is fit after missing the Albion game with back spasms. Goalkeeper John Ruddy is available after a one-match ban, but defenders Zak Whitbread (hamstring), Elliott Ward (knee) and Daniel Ayala (knee) are still sidelined.
For Bolton, £4m former Liverpool striker David Ngog and Tuncay Sanli, on loan from Wolfsburg, both scored for the reserves in midweek, while right-back Gretar Steinsson is pushing for a recall. Midfielder Stuart Holden is close to returning after six months out with a knee ligament injury but is likely to have to wait until Tuesday’s Carling Cup tie at Aston Villa.
Bolton Wanderers (from) –Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Eagles, Muamba, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Kevin Davies, Tuncay, Klasnic, Bogdan, Wheater, Boyata, Mark Davies, Pratley, Kakuta, Ngog, Blake, Holden.
Norwich City (from) – Ruddy, Naughton, Barnett, De Laet, Tierney, Bennett, Crofts, Bradley Johnson, Surman, Holt, Chris Martin, Hoolahan, Russell Martin, Fox, Pilkington, Jackson, Vaughan, Morison, Rudd.
Referee – Howard Webb (Yorkshire).
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