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Stoke V Bolton at Britannia Stadium : Match Preview
Published : 12 May 2012 15:17:22
Coyle waits on wounded Wanderers.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle will assess the condition of a number of players ahead of his relegation-threatened side's must-win Barclays Premier League trip to Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. Coyle is hopeful Nigel Reo-Coker (leg) and Mark Davies (virus) will be available despite the pair missing some training sessions recently and fellow midfielder Darren Pratley (virus) could be in line for his comeback having managed to do some light work at Wanderers' Euxton complex. Winger Lee Chung-yong, who broke his leg last summer, made a surprise return to action as a substitute in last weekend's 2-2 draw with West Brom and will once again be in the squad, but full-back Gretar Steinsson remains sidelined with a thigh problem. Centre-half David Wheater has joined the long-term casualty list after sustaining cruciate ligament damage in his right knee in the match against the Baggies. Skipper Kevin Davies admits Bolton require a "great escape" to avoid the drop. The inferior goal difference of 18th-placed Wanderers compared to that of QPR, who are two points better off in 17th, means that realistically to survive they will need to win at Stoke and hope the London side lose at Manchester City. Bolton have pulled off some important away victories this term - most recently the 2-1 triumph at Aston Villa last month - and Davies is optimistic they can do so again, but the veteran forward has stressed the need for "heroes" as the season reaches a nail-biting climax. "It would be a great escape," Davies said. "Let's hope we can do it the hard way because you know it will be difficult at Stoke and they will want to finish the season off in style. "It is all hands to the pump and we know we'll have to pull out a massive result. But we have done it before - we did it at Aston Villa - (and) we need some heroes. You need to be putting your body on the line and we haven't been doing that enough."
Stoke are waiting on the fitness of left-back Marc Wilson. Wilson had a scan on his back after being forced off with the problem at half-time during last weekend's loss to QPR, and boss Tony Pulis will give him until the day of the game to prove his fitness. Defender Andy Wilkinson (groin) and winger Jermaine Pennant (hamstring) are expected to be fit while Dane Thomas Sorensen will keep his place in goal as he builds up to next month's Euro 2012 tournament. Stoke will sign off at the end of their fourth consecutive season in the Premier League and Pulis in no doubt they have taken another step forward. Pulis said: "Every year we stay in the Premier League is an absolute dream for us as a football club and it gives us the opportunity to keep building the roots to ensure this club will grow stronger."