Nuts and Bolton: A Pre-Match Shakedown
And so it continues.
If we’re fighting a war on two fronts, this is the Pacific leg; not quite as important as what’s going on in the mainland but vital nonetheless.
It’s that time of the week again, folks. An F.A Cup replay. And a quarter-final with Fulham awaits.
I think it’s fair to say we’ve lost our way in the Cup in recent years; two seasons in the wilderness and the almost guaranteed likelihood of drawing Man Utd in the early rounds has somewhat blunted our mojo. A shame, really, as it’s a competition in which we have a glittery, trophy studded history. Eight times winners, lagging only, behind our annual nemesis, United, and those tarts from up the road. But it’s been nearly two decades since our last taste of triumphant in a May final. 1991. Hummel were just wrapping up the end of their manufacturing deal with us and Paul Gascoigne was at the height of his powers. A life time ago.
The F.A Cup, then, has taken on new significance this year. No relegation battle to arrest our priorities, or any testing Euro-pot scuffles in some dark pocket of Southern Moldova. No Carling Cup final to prepare for, either. (Again, we have United to thank for that). So it seems we’ve got just enough hands free to navigate ourselves along the treacherous road to Wembley. And, with three of the big-hitters falling early, it really ought to be something we could manage.
As we’ve so often found to our cost, Bolton shouldn’t be confused with easy pickings. In laymen terms, they’re a bastard of a team to turn over. Home advantage is a blessing as we do decidedly better work on our own turf than we do at the Reebok; a ground where we can’t buy, steal or barter for a win.
Team selection is one to ponder. Pavlyuchenko, by rights, should be a no-brainer. His resourceful efforts on Sunday were just terrific; more than enough to deserve a chance to repeat the trick. After all, the last time we played Bolton at home- Harry’s first game in charge- Roman scored what turned out to be the winning goal. And before that we only had two points from…
Well, you know the rest.
2-1, I reckon.
A Super Pav double.
What say y’all?