There is always plenty of spice involved in this fixture, whether or not it’s in the Championship or in a cup competition. There is certainly no love lost between Bolton and Blackpool and the two Lancashire rivals will be looking to put disappointing league campaigns behind them as they turn to the FA Cup this weekend.
Out of both teams, there’s no doubt that Bolton will be the ones who are most frustrated with the way the season has turned out so far. Despite being labelled as promotion candidates, the Trotters just haven’t been able to find any consistency and now find themselves sat in a lowly 18th position. Admittedly, relegation is by no means an issue, but the fact that nine points separate them from the top six will not be very pleasing for many fans at this stage of the season. The one thing that has remained constant throughout their campaign is inconsistency and Dougie Freedman’s side just haven’t been able to put together a solid run of form. One win from their last five highlights this, although the fact that Bolton have lost just once since the start of September will provide their fans with optimism ahead of this clash.
Blackpool on the other hand have slipped at an alarming rate over the last couple of months. At one time, Paul Ince’s side looked like promotion candidates, but recent form has thrown them straight out of the top places and right the way down into 12th. The Seasiders have now lost six of their last seven although despite such a poor record, they still find themselves just six points away from the playoff positions. Whether or not they can resurrect their form in this cup clash remains to be seen though, with the Bloomfield Road outfit managing just one win from their last nine away matches.
If we look at team news, Bolton have been boosted this week after they managed to capture Neil Danns on loan for the rest of the season after a successful spell several weeks ago. Unsurprisingly, he is almost certain to feature, but there won’t be a place for Joe Mason who returned to Cardiff after the end of his deal. In other news, there won’t be a place for Stuart Holden as he continues to struggle with a knee complaint. Blackpool meanwhile will approach the clash without two players, with Kirk Broadfoot firstly set to miss out through suspension. Paul Ince’s next problem comes in midfield, with a hamstring injury meaning that Isaiah Osbourne is the second absentee.
As for a prediction, we think Bolton will triumph in this encounter. The Trotters might be thoroughly inconsistent, but their opponents are in turmoil and simply don’t know where their next result is going to come from. Bearing this in mind, our prediction is a 2-1 victory for the Reebok Stadium team.