On Saturday West Brom will go seeking their first points of the season against a team managed by former Albion supremo Gary Megson. It will be the first time that Megson will manage a team facing his former charges, and we have changed much in the intervening years. Both teams had upsets in the Carling Cup midweek, losing to lower-league opposition, but it is unlikely this will perturb either as they return to focus on the bread-and-butter of the top flight.
Both teams also lost last weekend in the league, Wanderers comfortably outplayed by Newcastle and the Baggies deserving much more than a home defeat against Everton. The Albion will be seeking to capitalise on Bolton`s three absentees, and looking to climb away from the wrong end of the table where they, along with three other sides, are currently pointless.
Megson presided over The Baggies revival since the turn of the millennium, and many Albion fans (not to mention club captain Jonno Greening) remember him fondly. There is little doubt we are responsible to him at least in part for our current position, however there is no room for sentiment in football (as our new, better manager might say).
Gary Megson had some disparaging words about Jeremy Peace, who he refuses to mention by name. Of Peace he said to the local papers:
‘I will never get over how I think he treated me and my family…. I have no problem with West Brom as a football club, the supporters, the players or anyone else. Just one person.’
Tony Mowbray has focussed on the frankly absurd response to the Albion’s winless start to the season, telling the official site:
‘I feel it is almost comical the hysteria that surrounds two games, the fact that we have got no points after two games.’
I couldn’t agree more Tony.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Bolton are missing Matty Taylor and club-record signing Johan Elmander to injury, while ex-villain Gary Cahill serves the first game of a three match ban for his Carling Cup red.
Bolton Wanderers: (from) Jussi Jaaskelainen, Nicky Hunt, Jlloyd Samuel, Kevin Nolan, Gary Cahill, Fabrice Muamba, Joey O`Brien, Ricardo Gardner, Ian Walker, Kevin Davies, Gretar Steinsson, Mustapha Riga, Heioar Helguson, Gavin McCann, Ricardo Vaz Te, Blerim Dzemaili, Danny Shittu, Tamir Cohen, Ali Al Habsi, Zoltan Harsanyi, Andy O`Brien, Jaroslaw Fojut, Temitope Obadeyi.
Player to watch: Kevin Davies
The wily old campaigner signed a new contract this week and is returning to familiar territory in playing on his own up top as a result of Elmander’s injury. The Baggies centre backs will need to be strong and read the game to ensure Davies gets as little from it as possible.
West Brom Team News:
Mowbray will be continuing with the 4-5-1, with Miller expected to continue up front. New signing Valero is expected to start for his Premiership debut, and Meite will play against his old club, partnering Barnett, though both had a shocker against Hartlepool.
Bob Koren and Paul Robinson have both signed new contracts this week and are both expected to start, and the exciting Zuiverloon is set to make his second appearance in the stripes. There is no place in the squad for Michal Danek, who had his loan spell terminated today without making a first team appearance for the Baggies.
West Bromwich Albion: (from) Scott Carson, Carl Hoefkens, Paul Robinson, Marek Cech, Leon Barnett, Neil Clement, Robert Koren, Jonathan Greening, Roman Bednar, Ishmael Miller, Chris Brunt, Craig Beattie, Borja Valero, James Morrison, Kim Do-Heon, Luke Moore, Graham Dorrans, Pele, Gianni Zuiverloon, Abdoulaye Meite, Shelton Martis
Player to watch: Borja Valero
Expectations are understandably high on the Baggies £4.7m record signing. Kicked around in a harsh welcome to the English game at Hartlepool, it is unlikely to get any easier for the skilful Spaniard. The success of the Baggies may hinge on what he can create from the middle of the park.
Match Facts & Stats
Bolton have won 31 of 64 home games against the Albion, drawing 18 and hopefully the Baggies will make it 16 wins from 65 tomorrow.
Neck on the line time. 1-0 to us, Miller, created by Valero.
Cries of 1-0 to the Albion, as sung when Megson was our manager.
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