Bolton Wanderers v Derby County
Wednesday, 2nd January 2008, 8:00 pm
Firstly to all Rams fans around the world a Happy New Year and we all hope for a better 2008 in the Premier League.
The Rams head to the Reebok Stadium 10 points adrift of safety at the foot of the Premier League table and without a win in 14 games. Paul Jewell has spoken about the Rams problems and his hopes of bringing in players to rectify this, but he will have to do without them on Wednesday.
Derby goes in search of only their second Premier League victory of the campaign and their first away from Pride Park. On the other hand Wanderers have a good home record to maintain having remained undefeated since the League Cup tie against Manchester City at the end of October.
Once again the omens are good for the Rams as they haven`t lost to the Wanderers in five Premier League meetings.
Both sides had little to shout about over the Christmas fixtures with Bolton losing against Everton and Sunderland and the Rams losing their home matches against Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers.
The Rams still have injury concerns with Dean Leacock and Michael Johnson added to the list after the 1-2 loss against Blackburn Rovers. Also missing are Andy Todd, Andy Griffin, Stephen Bywater, David Jones and Stephen Pearson.
Robert Earnshaw (calf) is rated 50-50 after missing Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat to Blackburn, meaning Jewell may look at Craig Fagan or Jon Macken to partner Kenny Miller up front.
One man who isn’t injured but who won’t play for the Rams is last season’s top goalscorer Steve Howard as he has signed for Championship side Leicester City.
Gary Megson will be glad to be back on home soil following two festive defeats at Sunderland and Everton which has left The Trotters just one point above the drop zone.
Bolton has won their last three Premier League home games and the dangerous Nicolas Anelka has been on target four times, and he will have to be watched closely by the Rams.
Bolton hope to have full back Nicky Hunt available for selection after the former England U21 defender missed the game against Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.
Danny Guthrie and Ivan Campo where surprisingly dropped against the Black Cats and they too also hope to feature in the selection plans of the Wanderers boss.
Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Hunt, J O’Brien, Meite, A O’Brien, Gardner, Nolan, Campo, Guthrie, Davies, Anelka, Diouf, McCann, Samuel, Al Habsi, Giannakopoulos, Cid, Michalik, Wilhelmsson, Braaten, Alonso.
Derby (from): Price, Edworthy, McEveley, Leacock, Davis, Johnson, Barnes, Mears, Moore, Feilhaber, Holmes, Teale, Oakley, Lewis, Miller, Fagan, Macken, Earnshaw, Hinchliffe.
Referee – Howard Webb (Yorkshire)