By Mark Heys
April 10 2008
Bolton Wanderers hopes of Premier League survival are hanging by a thread after last weeks heavy defeat against Aston Villa but they could give themselves a fighting chance of avoiding relegation should they beat an injury plagued West Ham United side at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Villa comfortably brushed aside the Wanderers in a 4-0 victory at Villa Park leaving many supporters disgruntled and calling for action to be taken against manager Gary Megson and chairman Phil Gartside.
The pressure on the two men could ease somewhat should Bolton win against the Hammers and Birmingham City fail to pick up anything in their game against Everton.
A single point from nine games makes depressing reading but Wanderers can take comfort from the fact that West Ham have won just once on their trips to Bolton in the last thirteen years.
Bolton will welcome back their captain Kevin Nolan for this game after the midfielder sat out the last two matches through suspension but Irish international Joey O'Brien is a doubt.
Long serving trio Jussi Jaaskelainen, Ricardo Gardner and Nicky Hunt are ruled out for the remainder of the season but under fire boss Megson has adequate cover in those positions.
West Ham currently have a large number of their squad receiving treatment for injuries leaving manager Alan Curbishley struggling for options in key areas of the field.
Young midfielder Mark Noble is the latest name to join the treatment table and it is touch and go whether the England U21 star will make the trip up to the North West as he is still troubled with a hamstring strain.
Former Blackburn Rovers defender Lucas Neill is also rated 50-50 with an ankle injury but fellow defenders George McCartney, Matthew Upson and John Pantsil are available for selection.
Teenage trio Freddie Sears, James Tomkins and Jack Collison could be involved for the visitors as they have been part of the Londoners senior squad in recent times after making the successful transition from reserve and academy football.
Julien Faubert, Matthew Etherington, Freddie Ljungberg, Callum Davenport and James Collins are seemingly out for the rest of the season whilst Danny Gabbidon, Lee Bowyer, Craig Bellamy, Nigel Quashie and Kieron Dyer are also missing until the end of the month at least.
Victory will be vital for Bolton's Premier League survival aspirations whilst West Ham will look for the three points to keep on course for a finish amongst the top ten.
LAST TIME WE MET:
04/11/2007 WEST HAM UNITED 1 (McCartney) BOLTON WANDERERS 1 (Nolan)
BOLTON: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Nicky Hunt (Gavin McCann), Andy O'Brien, Abdoulaye Meite (Lubomir Michalik), Ricardo Gardner, Danny Guthrie, Ivan Campo, Gary Speed (Jlloyd Samuel), Kevin Nolan, Kevin Davies, El-Hadji Diouf
SUBS NOT USED: Stelios Giannakopoulos, Ali Al-Habsi (GK)
WEST HAM: Robert Green, Lucas Neill, Danny Gabbidon, Matthew Upson, George McCartney, Nolberto Solano, Lee Bowyer (John Pantsil), Hayden Mullins (Jonathan Spector), Matthew Etherington, Luis Boa-Morte, Carlton Cole (Henri Camara)
SUBS NOT USED: Kyel Reid, Richard Wright (GK)
PLAYED FOR BOTH:
Steve Banks, Franz Carr, David Cross, Les Ferdinand, Harry Kinsell, Gerry Peyton
DID YOU KNOW:
West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon was managed by Bolton boss Gary Megson at West Brom.
Nolberto Solano, Craig Bellamy, Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer where all team mates of Bolton's Andy O'Brien at Newcastle United
Bolton defender Jlloyd Samuel grew up in East London near West Ham's Boleyn Ground and one of his team mates in youth football was current Hammers striker Bobby Zamora.
George McCartney netted his first ever career goal when scoring against the Wanderers in November.