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Fan Focus: Bolton Wanderers (A) Pre-Match Views

Bolton's big day out was just a bit sadder than Kevin Davies quitting Twitter...
Bolton's big day out was just a bit sadder than Kevin Davies quitting Twitter...

Last week in Fan Focus we turned to a former panelist of ours to get their views on what turned out to be a shoddy game against Fulham, and this week we've done the same.

May I reintroduce you to Emma Norris, the diehard Bolton Wanderers fan we spoke to in our infancy, and writer in her own, erm, right, on DailyPrem and for Shoot magazine.

Emma has kindly rejoined us to give some thoughts ahead of our game against Bolton, so lets see how things are going down at the Reebok since we last spoke, talk about THAT FA Cup Semi-Final and her beloved Kevin Davies quitting Twitter...

Hi there, how are things down at Bolton Wanderers since we last spoke?

Emma: It's still such a great atmosphere surrounding the club - since Owen Coyle's arrival he just brought this infectious optimism to the Reebok. Naturally we've been without a few key players in recent weeks - namely Stuart Holden, who has been a huge miss. Our home form is second to none at the moment - we've won five on the trot at the Reebok - and we've only lost two here all season. Your boys had better get ready for a pasting this weekend, haha!

Obviously the FA Cup was a real disappointment n the end, what on earth happened!?

Emma: I honestly cannot begin to explain what happened on that day - I was numb for about a week afterwards and didn't eat for about two days - it was like somebody had died! It just didn't seem real watching Stoke rip us apart - it was pretty ruthless. The only thing I can say is I think perhaps the occasion got to the players, but we didn't even seem interested at times and that was the most disappointing thing. Under Coyle, even in defeat, I've always been proud of the players for trying their best with a never say die attitude - at Wembley, I was just disgusted that they could let us down so much.

Anyway, in my mind, I've never been to Wembley - we got knocked out in the third round against York City, haha!

Generally speaking though, how has this season racked up against your pre-season expectations, a success?

Emma: Well, we certainly can't complain about where we're sat at the moment. If you would've said we'd have been eighth in the league with just three games to play and been to Wembley at the beginning of the season, I'll be honest - I probably would have laughed in your face!

The fact that we were one game away from Europe against Stoke at Wembley pretty much sums this season up - it's been fantastic. What annoys me though is that we've lost so many away from home, with just two league victories on our travels. Half of the defeats have been harsh last minute goals in games where we deserved a point at the very least - it's quite aggravating to think we could have been perhaps two or three places higher than we are had we got that bit of luck or not lost concentration in the dying seconds.

That's just me being picky though! After two depressing years spent under Megson, we're loving every moment with our beloved Scot, and long may it continue!

Bolton have had a mixed bag of results since then, how do you see the game going this weekend?

Emma: Given our home form and your lack of strikers, I'd imagine we'll win the game quite comfortably, but this is us at the end of the day! Hopefully Daniel Sturridge will be back and he can rip your defence apart! We'll be determined to extend our fine home record so I'd imagine we'll get the three points I'm afraid!

We know fine well who Bolton’s key men are, but can you predict Owen Coyle’s staring XI for us?

Emma: It'll be interesting to see who Coyle plays in net after he put young Adam Bogdan into the starting line-up against Blackburn. It seems to me that Jussi may be losing his grip on the number one jersey after a few dubious performances in recent weeks. Injuries pending, I think I'll go for the same starting eleven that beat Arsenal:

Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Chung-Yong, Taylor, Muamba, Elmander, K Davies, Sturridge

Is there anyone from our side you think can cause problems, and which player v player match ups worry you, if any?

Emma: I'm certainly relieved that Gyan is injured, as I would've had him down for a couple against us! With your lack of strikers lately, I'm going to be controversial and go for Sulley Muntari. We were linked with him a few summers back and I think he's a quality player. I know he's yet to score, but we've got a habit of allowing players with less than prolific scoring records to grab a couple against us!

I'm slightly worried if we have to play Wheater at right back again if Steinsson isn't fit - he was run ragged against Blackburn as they targeted our very weak link. If he plays there again, I'd imagine your entire front line will be bombard that side in the hope of getting a cheeky goal.

Also, as I know you’re a big fan... which of these was more heartbreaking – the FA Cup Semi, or Kevin Davies quitting Twitter...

Emma: Haha! It's a close call, but I think the semi-final just edges it. I was incredibly disappointed to see Davo leave Twitter, especially under a tirade of abuse. He's one of the nicest guys in football and to think that people, even our own fans, could send him abuse is beyond me. I thought he'd be strong enough to overlook it, but I suppose everyone's got their limits. He was a great advert for Premier League players and social networking, Pop tarts and donkeys aside!

Lastly, what’s your prediction for the game?

Emma: I don't want to get too carried away with myself as I know how dangerous you can be, but I'd like to think we'll win with relative ease. I'll got for 3-1, Sturridge, Chung Yong and K Davies for us, Muntari for yourself.

Thanks very much Emma, and we’ll speak to you again after the match!

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