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Bolton V Wigan at Reebok Stadium : Match Preview
Published : 10 Feb 2012 14:01:16
Coyle convinced Bolton will survive.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle feels there are plenty of twists and turns to come yet in the scrap for Barclays Premier League survival and that it is not only the current bottom six who could be involved.
Wanderers, who lie 18th at the moment, take on basement boys Wigan at the Reebok Stadium on a potentially vital weekend for the relegation shake-up, with Blackburn (19th) hosting QPR (16th) the same day and Wolves (17th) taking on West Brom (15th) in a Black Country derby at Molineux on Sunday.
The way things stand, it looks as if it will be three of those clubs who go down, but Coyle does not think the equation is so simple.
Asked if he saw it as three teams from those six getting relegated, Coyle said: "People will think that is how it is, but this league changes so quickly and is unforgiving.
"All of a sudden you can go on one of those runs that happen out of the blue for no reason, so I wouldn't just leave it as three from six."
Coyle has no doubt that every one of the teams' managers is fully confident they can beat the drop - and remains adamant that his own side will be safe.
"I think we all believe we can get out of it," Coyle said. "From my end, I can only look at Bolton Wanderers and look to make sure we do that, but I'm pretty sure Steve Kean (Blackburn) and Roberto Martinez (Wigan) feel the same, as well as Mick McCarthy (Wolves), Mark Hughes (QPR) and Roy Hodgson (West Brom).
"It is so intriguing and that is why we love the league - it is the best league in the world. "We will all have our own beliefs about how we will go about it with the players we have.
"But from our end, I am totally convinced that we will be out of the bottom three come the end of the season." United States centre-back Tim Ream is set to be part of the matchday squad for the first time, along with fellow January recruit Ryo Miyaichi, the Japanese winger signed on loan from Arsenal for the rest of the season.
Gretar Steinsson (hamstring) and Joe Riley (groin) may return having missed the Norwich fixture but fellow defender Marcos Alonso (foot) is not ready yet while midfielders Lee Chung-yong (broken leg) Stuart Holden and Ricardo Gardner (both knee) remain out of action due to long-term problems, with the latter looking set to miss the remainder of the campaign following surgery.
Martinez believes his struggling team have turned the corner in their battle for survival despite their lowly position.
Wigan are bottom of the Barclays Premier League and surrendered two vital points as Everton hit back to claim a 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium last week.
But the Spaniard was pleased enough with the performance, after four successive league defeats, to approach the remainder of the campaign with confidence.
Martinez said: "At the end of the game you always feel like you have dropped two points, especially when you score that first goal and have an opportunity to score the second.
"But overall I felt we played really well. We were back to ourselves, we controlled the game and made it very difficult for Everton.
"They are always a very competitive side, one of the most hard-working in the league and I felt we played really well. "For me that was a real change in level of performance. We were not happy with the levels we showed at Spurs and QPR.
"I think it is important we find a very consistent level between now and the end of the season. "I do feel that was a real turning point for us going into the last third of the campaign."
Martinez is well aware Saturday's encounter is likely to be a tense affair. The two clubs - these days less than eight miles apart following their moves to modern stadia - have enjoyed a fierce local rivalry for decades and this year the stakes are high. Bolton are only four points better off than Latics in the fight to avoid the drop and, with 14 games left, the margins for error are narrowing.
Martinez said: "We are looking at our home games and feeling we have to win every single one of them. It is going to be the same for Bolton. "It is a big derby for ourselves.
It is always a special game but now this season, with both clubs fighting to avoid relegation, it has got an extra meaning.
"We have difficult games but we are excited about the challenge." Defender Antolin Alcaraz and midfielder Mohamed Diame could return to the starting line-up after injury and international duty respectively.
Bolton V Wigan - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.