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Bolton V Cardiff at Reebok Stadium : Match Preview

24 Jan 2014 15:01:00

Bolton V Cardiff at Reebok Stadium : Match Preview

Bolton V Cardiff - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Solskjaer backs Norwegians to shine

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident his Norwegian contingent has what it takes to thrive in English football.


Solskjaer has already acquired compatriots Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Mats Moller Daehli from Heerenveen and Molde respectively.


And striker Jo Inge Berget, 23, will make it a trio of Norwegian signings when he completes his own move from Molde on Friday.


The trio all worked with Solskjaer at Molde and all share an agent with the former Manchester United striker.


They may not have been the big name signings some Cardiff fans would have hoped for, but Solskjaer has no doubts over the qualities of Eikrem, Daehli and Berget.


"We are talking about three full internationals I have brought in for a very cheap price compared to what they give us," he said.


"They are long-term value for money.


"Of course the haven't played in the Premier League but they are all full internationals and I know them because I have had them before.


"I know their personalities."


Of Berget, who completed a medical on Thursday, Solskjaer added: "He is a forward, only had four or five months left on his contract so he came on a very good deal for us.


"He knows the way I want to play. He is a secondary forward. He is strong, very intelligent and clever and scored against England in the Under-21 European Championships. So he will do well for us."


Another man expected to complete a move to Cardiff is Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha.


The 21-year-old has made just four appearances for the Red Devils this season, one of which came in the Community Shield win over Wigan.


A move to Cardiff would allow the England cap to gain regular first-team action, but Solskjaer insisted, contrary to reports, that the player has not had a medical.


"You have to ask Manchester United," said the Bluebirds boss. "He is a Manchester United player. I cannot comment about players who are not Cardiff players. Nothing has been concluded.


"I can confirm he has not had a medical for Cardiff. I can say that. I don't know what he has done with other clubs but he has not had a medical with Cardiff."


Press Association Sport understands Cardiff are also close to completing a deal for Wigan defender Ivan Ramis as Solskjaer continues to strengthen his squad with the Bluebirds currently bottom of the Premier League.


With survival the priority, a trip to Bolton in the FA Cup may be a fixture Cardiff could do without.


But Solskjaer, who could hand Eikrem and Daehli full debuts, wants his side to use the fourth-round tie as a means of generating momentum.


He said: "Tomorrow is going to be an important game for the club.


"It is vital to build momentum and confidence. I hear many people say it is a distraction but for me it is another chance to get to know the lads and for them to implement what we are trying to do.


"The FA Cup was the biggest one-game occasion in football. I watched probably all of them. This is one final we really want to get to and this game is massive for us.


"But we need fresh legs and energy, especially mental energy, we need to rotate as we have another game on Tuesday and then Saturday."


Bolton boss Dougie Freedman has backed Solskjaer to be a success in the Premier League.


The two men, separated by just a year in age, first became familiar with each other as strikers in English football's top flight - indeed Freedman was playing for Nottingham Forest when Solskjaer famously reaffirmed his status as Manchester United's 'super sub' by scoring four times in 12 minutes in an 8-1 victory in 1999.


And the pair became better acquainted on coaching courses in the next decade when the Norwegian impressed Freedman with both his knowledge of the game and his passion, even then, to extend his career in football.


"I did my coaching course with him many years ago and this was the great thing I liked about Ole, he was still playing when he was doing these things," said Freedman.


"We were talking in football terms and still playing but looking to the future so it did strike me that one day he would be a manager or a coach, he's good at both."


Solskjaer, now 40, was dubbed the 'Baby-faced Assassin' at Old Trafford but, as he prepares for Saturday's clash at the Reebok Stadium, Freedman thinks that behind the youthful exterior the manager has a steely resolve to succeed.


"You get the feeling straight away when you meet him," the Scot said.


"You get a feeling he's serious, you get a feeling he's humble, you get a feeling he's educated himself in the football world.


"That doesn't mean he's going to be successful. Football's not fair, like life, it doesn't mean because he's done it he'll get results but he's given himself the best possible chance to succeed and that's very impressive in my eyes as a young coach.


"Being committed to your coaching badges, getting your qualifications, studying the game, looking at players - committed, that's what he is."


Forward Andre Moritz will come back into contention for Bolton. Summer signing Moritz missed Reading's 7-1 demolition of the Trotters last weekend with a knee injury but Freedman revealed he trained on Thursday and will come into the reckoning.


His return to the squad would be a welcome one given Jermaine Beckford is still absent with a hamstring injury and David Ngog is close to a move to Swansea, which could possibly materalise before this weekend's game.



PA

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