Aston Villa v Bolton Wanderers: Preview

17 September 2010 03:09
Aston Villa striker John Carew returns to the squad for the visit of Bolton after shaking off a hamstring injury that sidelined him for Monday's 2-1 defeat at Stoke.

With the exception of Fabian Delph, who is on the long-term injured list with a knee problem, caretaker-manager Kevin MacDonald has a full squad to choose from.

The game represents MacDonald's last in charge before handing over the reins to Gerard Houllier following the Frenchman's appointment a week ago.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle believes MacDonald can consider himself very unfortunate not to have been given the job on a permanent basis. MacDonald has been in caretaker charge since Martin O'Neill's dramatic resignation on the eve of the Barclays Premier League season but two wins in four league games were not enough to convince the board to appoint him.

Coyle said: "There's no easy time to go to Aston Villa, and Kevin MacDonald I think has done a terrific job. I was a little bit surprised, I thought he may have been offered the job permanently because of how well he's done and the stature and the esteem the players hold him in.

"We're under no illusions how difficult the game will be. They have some terrific players. I watched them on Monday and they were a little bit unfortunate not to win. We're going to have to be at our very best."

MacDonald has already ruled himself out of the running to be Houllier's assistant and must now decide whether to go back to his former role as reserve team boss or to seek pastures new.

Coyle continued: "It's his last game in charge at this moment in time because who's to say further down the line he's not offered other jobs?

"He's Aston Villa through and through, as he's shown. And within the whole period of time, the way he's conducted himself has been exemplary and a real role model for Aston Villa Football Club.

"The way he's kept the players focused, he's obviously somebody who is very good at his job. It may be emotional for him but his focus will be on trying to win the game."

Bolton have made a decent start to the season, picking up five points from the opening four games, and go into the clash on the back of their first defeat at Arsenal last weekend.

Coyle, though, has seen his options limited by injuries and suspensions, with the club this week failing in their bid to have Gary Cahill's red card at the Emirates Stadium overturned.

Source: DSG