Everton at Bolton: Match Preview

Tim Howard scored against Bolton last season, can he do it again? - Alex Livesey

Everton travel to Bolton on Saturday in an FA Cup Fourth Round fixture. After two straight 0-0 draws, can they finally find their scoring touch while holding strong in defence?

Bolton Wanderers are not having a good season in the League Championship after getting relegated last year. However, the FA Cup has proven time and again to be the great leveler, and the Trotters knocked out Sunderland after a replay in the previous round. For more about Bolton and the year they are having, read the Q&A we did with Bolton blog The Lion of Vienna Suite.

Everton for their part have been slumping badly in recent weeks and could really use some goals and a minimum-fuss win this weekend. After the fiasco at Leeds United in the League Cup earlier in the year, David Moyes learned his lesson and named eight regulars in the side to face Cheltenham in the Third Round. We can expect more of the same tomorrow as he attempts to get some players out of the funk they are deeply mired in.

Team News -

Kevin Mirallas looked to have recovered in his second half showing on Monday, and will have the creative burden placed squarely on his shoulders. However, the injury woes continue for Everton, with Seamus Coleman limping off against Southampton, to join pivotal midfielder Darron Gibson and Tony Hibbert on the sidelines. John Heitinga has resumed training and could also feature especially if Moyes chooses to rest Leighton Baines' ankles.

For Bolton, manager Dougie Freedman will not have the services of new signing Craig Dawson who is Cup-tied. David Wheater, who got sent off against Everton last season, and Keith Andrews are still out. Midfielder Stuart Holden is fit again after a knee injury and could start. In-form goalie Andy Lonergan will start again and youngster Marvin Sordell could keep David N'gog out of the starting lineup.

Keys To The Game -

Everton simply cannot buy a goal at the moment. Nikica Jelavic has been plagued horribly by the 'Second Season Syndrome' that has befallen Everton strikers in the last decade under Moyes. We can expect Moyes to start both Jelavic and Victor Anichebe supported by Marouane Fellaini on Saturday to put some pressure on the Bolton defence. The gameplan should be pretty straightforward, throw the kitchen sink at the home side and hope the defence can hold up against the counter attack.

Bolton will attempt to put pressure on the away side with their raucous home support. Craig Davies looked active in the little playing time so far and could be used to support Sordell up front. Veteran Kevin Davies has had some pitched battles against Everton in the past and his experience will be relied upon by Freedman tomorrow.

Match Facts -

  • After eighteen straight games of conceding at least a goal, Everton haven't conceded in the last two.
  • Jelavic has scored in every round of the FA Cup in which he has played.
  • The Toffees have lost once in the last twelve, and are unbeaten in 2013.
  • Bolton have not lost to Everton in the FA Cup since 1908.
  • In their last Cup meeting in 1994, the Trotters won 3-2.
  • The two sides have never played an FA Cup fixture at the Reebok Stadium.
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