skip to content
Bolton revival facing cup test
Bolton will be spurred on by a feeling of injustice when they take to the field against Swansea in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The Trotters put in their best performance of the season to beat Liverpool 3-1 in the Barclays Premier League last weekend but boss Owen Coyle was disappointed all the attention afterwards was on the struggles of their opponents.
Now the Scot is hoping they can carry that form into Saturday's clash against Brendan Rodgers' team, who came out on top when the sides met in the league in October.
Coyle said: "We didn't get the credit we were due for our performance because everyone seemed to be saying Liverpool didn't do well; well sometimes you're not allowed to do well because of the pressure the opposition puts on you and we showed great quality.
"Sometimes when you play the elite clubs you have to ride your luck but nothing could be further from the truth, from start to finish we dominated that game.
"We've got a big game on Saturday and if we win that then that would cap off a very good week. We've got a tough cup tie against a very good Swansea side but one we're looking forward.
"They're a team that can pass and move the ball with the very best. They've got some terrific players, Brendan is a terrific man and someone I've got a lot of time for but we'll be going all out to try to progress to the last 16."
Bolton have had a torrid time since losing 5-0 to Stoke in the semi-finals of the FA Cup last season but there have been a few positive signs recently, not least an easing of their injury crisis, and the Liverpool win took them out of the bottom three.
Coyle played down the significance, saying: "We all realise there's a stigma involved in being in the bottom three but the important time to be out of the bottom three is after the last game of the season.
"We've won a game last week and it was a valuable three points but equally what we've got to do is make sure when we go back to the league that we continue to pick up points.
"Everybody looked at our fixtures going into the new year: Everton away, Manchester United away, Liverpool at home, and I've got no doubt, outside our football club, everybody thought Bolton Wanderers wouldn't take a point, but we've totally disproved that and taken six, and what we must do is kick on now."
New signing Tim Ream has headed back to the States to sort out the last of his paperwork and is unlikely to be unavailable until next weekend but Jussi Jaaskelainen (thigh) and Tyrone Mears (broken leg) could be involved.
Premier League survival may be Swansea's priority this season but left-back Neil Taylor hopes they can complete a Welsh cup double and match Cardiff's feat by getting to Wembley.
Swansea's near-neighbours secured their place in the Carling Cup final with a dramatic 3-1 penalty shoot-out victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday night and face a Wembley appointment with Liverpool next month.
Swansea, of course, tasted Wembley glory in May of last year as their play-off success over Reading, which Taylor missed through suspension, gained them promotion to the top flight, where they currently lie 13th after an impressive start.
The latest step on a potential route back to the famous stadium sees Rodgers' side travel to Bolton.
Taylor insists it is a competition Swansea are desperate to do well in, even if the league has to come first with Tuesday's meeting against Chelsea looming on the horizon.
"I want to play, to be part of the FA Cup run - all the boys want to be involved," he said. "Although we understand that changes may have to be made.
"We want to do really well, I think we showed that at Barnsley in the last round.
"It helps the confidence, it was another away win. It will certainly help going into Chelsea if we can get a positive result.
"We still love the FA Cup, the magic's still there.
"It would be great for us to get to Wembley again after Cardiff did it the other night.
"They have a tough game against Liverpool in the final but it's great for them, and great for Welsh football."
Defender Alan Tate is included in the squad for the first time since breaking his leg in a golf buggy accident in August but Tottenham have asked for on-loan defender Steven Caulker to be left out to avoid the centre-half being cup-tied.
Josh McEachran, another on-loan player, is set to start as he will not be available for Tuesday's meeting with parent club Chelsea.
Pratley off the mark in Cup win
Darren Pratley opened his account for Bolton with a goal against his former club as Wanderers came from behind to defeat Swansea 2-1 at the Reebok Stadium and secure a place in last 16 of the FA Cup.
After the hosts had applied virtually all the pressure without breaking the deadlock - Mark Davies going the closest - it was the Swans who went 1-0 up in the 43rd minute through Luke Moore's deft chip.
But Pratley, who left the Welsh side for Bolton in the summer, squared things by heading home an equaliser in first half stoppage time before Chris Eagles settled the fourth round tie 11 minutes after the break, reacting when Gerhard Tremmel could not hold on to Martin Petrov's strike.
Both teams hit the goalframe after that, Swansea doing so twice, but it was Wanderers who emerged triumphant to progress to the next round.
The result also meant the Trotters - beaten eight times at home this season - have now won three games in a row at their own ground in all competitions.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle, unable to call upon new centre-half Tim Ream, made three changes to his starting line-up from the 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Liverpool, bringing Dedryck Boyata and Joe Riley in at the back for Zat Knight and Gretar Steinsson, while in midfield, Pratley replaced Fabrice Muamba.
For the visitors, on-loan midfielder Josh McEachran was handed his first start since arriving from Chelsea as Swans manager Brendan Rodgers completely reshuffled his pack from the 2-0 loss at Sunderland by making 10 adjustments, defender Ashley Williams the only player keeping his place in the team.
Bolton made the first attempt on goal in the sixth minute, Sam Ricketts - another ex-Swansea man - rising in the box to get his head to Eagles' free-kick and Tremmel diving to make the save.
Moments later Eagles turned in the box but made poor contact to scuff his shot well wide, and then saw another effort deflect off target.
In the 19th minute David Ngog found himself one on one with Tremmel but was denied by the feet of the German goalkeeper.
Ngog then tried to line up a volley only to fluff his lines, but Davies showed more potency soon after, cutting inside and firing in a low drive that Tremmel managed to get behind.
The hosts continued to press forward, but conviction was lacking in their finishing once again as Eagles lofted the ball over and Petrov saw a strike saved.
After Mark Gower skied a rare attempt at the other end, Swansea thought they had taken the lead against the run of play when Wayne Routledge tapped in Leroy Lita's cross.
The assistant referee ruled that effort was offside, but then with two minutes of the half remaining, the Swans did find themselves in front as Moore outmuscled David Wheater to clip the ball over Adam Bogdan and into the net.
Bolton managed to hit back before the interval, though, Pratley nodding in Petrov's free-kick to make it 1-1.
It was Pratley's first goal for Wanderers, the last time he netted coming in Swansea's npower Championship play-off semi-final against Nottingham Forest in May.
Seven minutes after the restart Moore collected a pass from McEachran and tried his luck from distance, curling the ball wide.
Swansea were looking more purposeful and Moore almost burst through again, but in the 56th minute Bolton restored their advantage as Tremmel parried Petrov's shot, allowing Eagles to tuck the ball into the corner.
Within seconds, Wanderers survived a scare when Lita hit the woodwork, only for Pratley to then send a header against the Swans' crossbar.
Another chance came Pratley's way as a miscued backpass let him in, but he was unable to get his shot the right side of the post.
Kemy Agustien drove forward for Swansea but could not get his shot on target.
Bolton were soon back on the offensive and either side of a Williams header, Riley and Nigel Reo-Coker fired into the side-netting.
Swans substitute Danny Graham almost salvaged a replay late on, but his header came back off the post and Wanderers' place in round five was confirmed.
© 2004 - 2015 football.co.uk