Bolton match preview

DESPITE Bolton s lowly position and poor recent form, West Ham will still travel to the Reebok at the weekend with little confidence of bringing home the three points. There is something about a trip to this part of the north west that seems to fill both

DESPITE Bolton's lowly position and poor recent form, West Ham will still travel to the Reebok at the weekend with little confidence of bringing home the three points.

There is something about a trip to this part of the north west that seems to fill both Hammers fans and players alike with dread.

Maybe it is because of Gary Megson's uncompromising tactics of hitting the opposition where it really hurts; or maybe it is the icy wind that always seems to rip round the ground whenever you visit.

Whatever it is, West Ham haven't won there since goals from Ian Bishop, Tony Cottee and Danny Williamson gave them a 3-0 victory way back in 1995!


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Last season a single Kevin Davies goal was enough to send West Ham packing, while the previous two visits to Peter Kay's homeland saw the Hammers, well, hammered, conceding four goals on both occasions.

Bolton did lose Kevin Nolan during the January transfer window. The midfielder was often a thorn in West Ham's side, but his �4million move to Newcastle will give the Hammers some respite.

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Megson did bring in loan signings Sebastien Puygrenier, a French defender who plays for Zenit St Petersburg in Russia, as well as Portuguese striker Aziz Makukula from Benfica, but they haven't been able to turn round Bolton's tough season.

They currently sit 14th in the Premier League, some six points behind the Hammers and although they beat Spurs 3-2 in their last home game, they crashed 3-0 at Everton two weeks ago.

Bolton have won only three other home games besides that victory over Tottenham, beating Portsmouth, Manchester City and Stoke City, but they will be confident of making it five against the Hammers, after beating them soundly at Upton Park back in October.

That day, Rob Green had something of a nightmare, as Bolton scored two goals in four minutes, going on to win 3-1.

Lucas Neill is suspended for Saturday's game after picking up five bookings, while Carlton Cole (ankle) and Luis Boa Morte (groin) will also miss out.

West Ham still have the firepower to get a result up at Bolton, but with eight-goal Kevin Davies looking for another against the Hammers and of course, when that wind starts to blow, anything could happen.

Probable team: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Puygrenier, Samuel, Taylor, Davies M, Muamba, Gardner, Davies K, Makukula.

Prediction:

Bolton W 0 West Ham 0

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