Bolton Wanderers Vs Birmingham, Sun 29 Aug 2010

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Bolton will assess the fitness of striker Ivan Klasnic ahead of the Barclays Premier League clash with Birmingham.

Klasnic scored the winner in the midweek victory over Southampton in the Carling Cup but was substituted at half-time after suffering a thigh strain.

Sean Davis, who missed most of last season through injury, is being kept on the sidelines as a precaution for up to two months after feeling some discomfort in his knee.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle believes Birmingham are in no danger of suffering second-season syndrome with Alex McLeish at the helm.

McLeish led the Blues to an impressive ninth-place finish in the Barclays Premier League last term just 12 months after they were promoted to the top flight as Championship runners-up.

Several teams in recent years have enjoyed initial success after coming up from the second tier only to struggle in the campaign that followed, but Coyle is confident the midlands outfit will continue to build this season.

"Alex is a top-class manager and he's been able to improve the squad from last year with signings," Coyle said.

"Joe Hart went back, but he has got a terrific replacement in Ben Foster and Nikola Zigic has come in - they have brought some very good players to the football club, and spent some money doing it.

"I have got no doubts that Birmingham under Alex will carry on the good work from last season.

"I think particularly under Alex's stewardship, they will go from strength to strength.

"They are a big club and he is doing the right things to take them on."

McLeish will check on the fitness of forward James McFadden before naming his squad.

The Scotland international scored from the penalty spot in the 3-2 Carling Cup win over Rochdale but was replaced at half-time after complaining of a tight groin.

McLeish made eight changes to his side for the cup win and the likes of Ben Foster, Stephen Carr, Liam Ridgewell, Barry Ferguson, Craig Gardner and Cameron Jerome can all expect to return to the starting line-up.

Former Blackburn striker Matt Derbyshire is pushing for a start after opening his account against Dale while full-back David Murphy also scored on his return from 16 months out with a fractured kneecap.

One player who definitely will not figure is veteran striker Kevin Phillips, who could be out for another month with a thigh problem picked up before the start of the campaign.

McLeish has revealed skipper Carr has been defying a broken toe to play in the opening part of the season.

Carr, who was coaxed out of retirement by McLeish two seasons ago, suffered the setback in training ahead of the new campaign.

But he has played in the opening two league games and McLeish said: "Stephen has been playing with a broken toe and been having injections to help him get through the games so far.

"I can tell you that is not nice but it also shows the type of character that he is.

"The good thing is he will get a decent rest after Sunday's game because of the two-week international break and that should benefit him."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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