Football

Bolton Wanderers Vs Chelsea, Mon 24 Jan 2011

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Bolton manager Owen Coyle is convinced his side can get back on track against Chelsea on an emotional night at the Reebok Stadium.

The club will honour the late Nat Lofthouse before kick-off with a minute's silence.

Then Coyle hopes his players can give the supporters something to savour when they face the Barclays Premier League champions.

Bolton's form has dipped after a bright start and they have picked up only eight points from their last nine games.

Coyle is still hurting at the way they lost to Chelsea last month when Florent Malouda scored a disputed winner.

"It should have been ruled out for offside and we could have had a penalty, " he said.

"We have had two close-run games with them and lost both 1-0. We came out on the wrong side of some major decisions in those games.

"We should have had two stonewall penalties last year - one of them after Didier Drogba was playing volleyball. So the margins are minimal. We know that.

"We have been in terrific form at the Reebok and we have to make sure on Monday we make sure come out on the right side of these margins. If that happens it's a game I believe we can win."

Coyle expects Chelsea to kick on in the coming weeks and make a strong bid to retain their crown.

He said: "I have no doubts that with the quality Chelsea have and the strength of their squad they will sustain a challenge for the title again.

"Despite what has been said there are very much in the race and they have picked up in the last few games. They will be coming here to try to get three points. But equally so are we.

"It is vital to find your form in any league game. If you take the recent away matches in isolation, then each game we could have earned points from."

David Wheater could make his debut after signing a three-and-a-half-year deal from Middlesbrough.

Striker Ivan Klasnic (groin) and full-back Gretar Steinsson (knee) are doubtful while Lee Chung-yong is on international duty at the Asian Cup with South Korea.

Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti insists his Chelsea players are not past their sell by date and are as hungry as ever to win silverware.

Opinion is divided over the reasons behind the Blues' worst run in the Barclays Premier League for almost 15 years, from which they have only just emerged.

Some blame the shock sacking of assistant manager Ray Wilkins, while others point to the loss of key players to injury, which in turn is linked to the club's decision to offload a number of experienced squad members last summer.

But there are also those who have questioned whether the stars that remain at Stamford Bridge are still willing and able to compete for the big prizes.

Manager Ancelotti is adamant they are on both counts, rubbishing suggestions his current first-choice XI is over the hill.

He said: "Do you know what is the oldest team in the world? Inter Milan - 29.6 years average.

"Another question: who was the winner of the Champions League last year?

"We are not the oldest because the oldest is Inter."

The Italian is also certain his double winners remain as motivated as ever to win trophies.

"I think so because when you win, the next desire after the victory is to win again," he said.

"This was in my mind and in their mind."

Frank Lampard and John Terry are both doubts for the game.

Lampard is the bigger concern with a calf injury the club had been confident would not rule him out, while Terry is expected to be available despite picking up a back problem.

Alex (knee), Yury Zhirkov (calf) and Yossi Benayoun (Achilles) remain sidelined.

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Topics:
Football
Bolton Wanderers
Chelsea
Premier League

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