Bolton v Tottenham FA Cup preview
HOW Spurs will wish that Mark Clattenburg was refereeing in Bolton again this weekend. The official was probably the least popular man in Lancashire on Saturday night, having ruled out Kevin Davies' late winner for a supposed push...
FA CUP PREVIEW BY BEN PEARCE
Bolton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur, Sunday 1.30pm
HOW Spurs will wish that Mark Clattenburg was refereeing in Bolton again this weekend.
The official was probably the least popular man in Lancashire on Saturday night, having ruled out Kevin Davies' late winner for a supposed push on Fulham's Brede Hangeland.
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Clattenburg told new Trotters boss Owen Coyle that he had seen a "two-handed push", which was possibly the exaggeration of the season. Another candidate would be Coyle's assertion that Davies is "physical but honest."
Actually, the 32-year-old forward has committed more fouls than other player in the league this season (60), but he still feels that Clattenburg has it in for him: "Every time he referees us, I don't expect to get anything," he said.
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Yes, Tottenham could certainly do with Clattenburg on Sunday, because Davies has scored three goals in their last two visits to the Reebok Stadium.
Of course, Bolton are not supposed to be relying on Davies' aerial prowess any more. The board replaced Gary Megson with Coyle because the fans were fed up of their one-dimensional football, and the stigma that it held around the Premier League.
Coyle's brief is to transform the Trotters into a beautiful, exciting side. And so there was something ironic about the scenes on Saturday, as he asserted that his side should have beaten Fulham 1-0 at home, thanks to Davies's header from a corner.
In fact, Bolton have scored just three goals in their six league games under Coyle and have drawn a blank in their last three. They netted nine in four before his arrival.
Admittedly, the new manager has had to face Arsenal twice, as well as Liverpool, but the thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City and the 3-1 win over West Ham three days later both came in Megson's final days.
Coyle has bolstered his creative options by loaning Arsenal's teenage sensation Jack Wilshere, and he also has young City loanee Vladimir Weiss at his disposal, while Tamir Cohen, Mark Davies and Chung-Yong Lee can all open up a defence.
Putting the ball in the net is another matter, particularly when misfiring striker Johan Elmander has scored just nine times in 49 appearances since his �10million move in the summer of 2008.
Meanwhile, the Trotters have suffered a major blow to their rearguard after losing star centre-back Gary Cahill for the rest of the season, thanks to a blood clot in his arm.
The verdict: Spurs hate playing in Bolton, where they have won just once since 1996, and they have lost seven of their last 12 visits. This is far from the ideal tie for the Lilywhites, but there is good news.
Spurs' 4-3 win at the Reebok in 2004 was the last time the two sides met in a cup competition, and the Trotters have been less formidable at home than usual this term, winning just three of their 13 top-flight games.
Meanwhile, Tottenham have a new physicality and resilience under Harry Redknapp, and with Michael Dawson and Peter Crouch in the side they are less vulnerable to aerial attacks and set pieces. Spurs should not lose, but another replay is certainly possible.