Bolton V Tottenham at Reebok Stadium : Match Preview
Coyle spurred on by recent record
Bolton manager Owen Coyle feels his recent encounters with Tottenham in the north-west show why his team should go into their Barclays Premier League clash with the Londoners at the Reebok Stadium full of confidence that they can claim a vital victory. Although Wanderers have been beaten five times at White Hart Lane in all competitions since Coyle was appointed as manager in January 2010, at home they have held Spurs to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup and pulled off an impressive 4-2 league win over them. The Scot was previously in charge at Burnley, who in 2009 - aiming to overturn a 4-1 deficit from the first leg - went 3-0 up against Tottenham at Turf Moor to take their Carling Cup semi-final to extra-time before goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe saw the visitors progress 6-4 on aggregate. Those experiences have given Coyle plenty of encouragement that Bolton can put fourth-placed Spurs to the sword as the Trotters look to climb out of the relegation zone.
"Spurs are a different proposition away from home than they are at White Hart Lane," Coyle said. "I have had two encounters with Spurs at the Reebok Stadium - a fifth-round FA Cup tie which we drew and should have won and then when we beat them last season in the Premier League. "So we go into this believing that if we are at our best, we can take points from the game, and that is what we will look to do." Bolton are 18th in the table, separated from 17th-placed QPR by goal difference alone. Wanderers have three matches left, with this one being their game in hand over the rest of their relegation rivals. They had another last week, triumphing 2-1 at Aston Villa, and Coyle - whose team then went on to draw 2-2 at Sunderland on Saturday - wants to see his men make the most of their opportunity once again. "What we have to do now is, as we did last week against Aston Villa, capitalise on our game in hand," said Coyle, who will check on the condition of a number of his players ahead of the game. "We have had to sit for a few weeks and play catch-up in terms of games, while opponents picked up some huge results that were probably not expected. But now they would have to say Bolton are on a terrific run of form. "Now we have three games left, knowing that we need to take the points to make sure we have at least one more than three teams below us. We know we are capable of doing that."
Harry Redknapp believes results are so erratic at this stage of the season that he cannot be sure whether his Spurs side will miss out on fourth place or snatch third. With the Football Association opting to employ Roy Hodgson as the new national manager, Redknapp - the bookies' overwhelming favourite for the job - has had a hard lesson in the unpredictability of football in the last few days. But it is the hard-to-call results on the field that he is focused on ahead of the match at Bolton. Spurs are currently in possession of the last Champions league place, but he is not taking fourth for granted. In fact, he is as prepared for his side dropping down to fifth as he is for pipping north London rivals Arsenal to third.
"You can't predict results," he told Spurs TV. "Manchester United had an eight-point lead after (Manchester) City got beat at Arsenal, you thought that was the end of them, you thought it was all over. You just can't tell. "You look at Wigan's games and they had no chance (of survival). They had to go to Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, play United, Newcastle, five of the top six, and they go on this incredible run. You just can't predict results. "You never know. You just have to keep going. That's all we can do. We've two tough away games this week and then a tough home game against Fulham to finish with. That's three hard games. "Newcastle have three tough games, for sure. Chelsea might have the best fixtures. We have to keep going and if we play well, we can do it (third)." Redknapp is expecting a stiff challenge at the Reebok Stadium and said: "Bolton away is always tough. "We've been there enough times over the years and it's always a difficult place to go. They are playing well, Owen (Coyle, manager) has got them going at the moment. It will be a hard game but we've got to go there and be positive." Aaron Lennon (knock) is a doubt while Scott Parker and Louis Saha are struggling for full fitness.
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