Hardly the most attractive of fixtures for the opening game of our 2010/2011 Premier League campaign is it? But, on the other hand, it does give Mark Hughes the opportunity to return to the North-West and to also kick-start his Fulham managerial career with a win over a Bolton side that are hardly top notch doesn`t it! In fact Mark Hughes could go a long way to getting further adulation from the Fulham faithful by getting a rare victory on the road, something that has tended to elude us in the last two campaigns!
Our opposition boss, Owen Coyle, seems rather confident ahead of this fixture remarking,
“We`ve had a great pre-season and we can`t wait for Saturday to come around.”
Well we`ve not had a bad one ourselves thanks Owen, sticking five past Werder Bremen last weekend!
May the best team, on the day, win!
(That`s if we can improve on a poor away record that has seen us only win seven times, on the road, in the last three seasons)
Bolton Team News:
Owen Coyle goes into the opening fixture of the season without two key midfielders with Gavin McCann and Joey O`Brien both having knee problems.
Up front, Coyle will be looking to the Swedish player, Johan Elmander to play alongside the bullish Kevin Davies.
Player to watch: Kevin Davies
A battering ram of a centre forward, a tower of strength who bullies defenders, a brute who isn`t afraid to put his body on the line, a colossus to defend against and the sort of player the supporters love!
Fulham Team News:
It`ll be interesting if Mark Hughes, for his first Premier League game of Fulham, sticks with the majority of those that Roy Hodgson used to start with. With Philippe Senderos and Andrew Johnson both long term injury victims, also absent will be Damien Duff with a knee ailment, and with Hughes yet to bring in any confirmed signings, it looks as if Mark might not have much choice than to go wit the tired and trusted.
We expect Fulham to line up something like this:-
Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Murphy, Etuhu, Gera, Greening, Zamora and Dempsey
Player to watch: Bobby Zamora
Fresh from making his full England debut, the Fulham faithful will be keen to see if Bobby can carry on with the goals scoring exploits this season that made him such a star last season!
Match Facts & Stats
The statistics show that Bolton are the more likely team to emerge victorious on Saturday. Fulham`s record at the Reebok Stadium is poor with only one victory in the last six attempts.
Fulham also have the strange record of only having scored once in their last four opening day fixtures, which would seem to indicate we could be in trouble if Bolton get a brace!
The man in the middle is Stuart Atwell who will be ably assisted by his two assistants, Martin Yerby and Adam Watts with Scott Mathieson fulfilling the fourth official duties.
Our away form, especially in the Premier League, is usually considered to be woeful. But it`s the first match of a brand new season and optimism levels are inevitably high, those once a summer thoughts of finishing very high up the table are prevalent. Can Fulham grab all three points on offer at the Reebok Stadium? Of course they can and they will, you`ll see! 1-0 to Fulham with the winner coming in the second half!
Our second home match of the new season sees Fulham entertain Manchester united at Craven Cottage.