This is not one of the marquee match-ups in the Barclay's Premier League this weekend, but it is intriguing just the same. For me, the games between mid-table teams are the most exciting in many cases, and here are a few reasons why;
a.) Confidence. Both sides will go into this match feeling like they can take 3 points. Both managers will have pointed to this game an opportunity to move up the table. This means we will see both sides playing with several attacking players and trying to get the ball into the box.
b.) Supporters. These sides don't draw 50,000 fans every week. Their away support is usually quite pathetic. You don't see a lot of Wanderers shirts outside of Lancashire, and you don't even see a lot of Fulham replica shirts in London. However, the small fan bases these clubs do possess, are fiercely loyal and devoted. And they possess one other quality which is rare among sports fans; realism. Both of these clubs were promoted in 2001. Both have struggled with the threat of relegation, while also qualifying for the Europa League. The great thing about the fans of these clubs is that they know what the ceiling is for them. They can finish anywhere between 7th and 17th and the fans will be glad they stayed up and excited about pushing up the table in the next season.
c.) Goals. Neither side is especially good defensively, and both have shown a flare for scoring goals.
This all comes down to one thing. We are going to see an exciting game of football at the Reebok. It might not be a high level of football, and it is unlikely that a lot of neutrals will tune in, but fans of Fulham and Bolton will be entertained.
Unfortunately, Owen Coyle and Roy Hodgson will be missing some key players. For Bolton, striker Ivan Klasnic is out with an injury. The big Croatian will probably be unavailable for a couple more weeks. This most likely means Johann Elmander will get a chance to show new manager Coyle what he is capable of. For Fulham, a large aspect of their attack is int he trainer's room. Andy Johnson just had knee surgery and is done for the season, while Clint Dempsey has ligament damage in his knee and probably won't be back until April.
I still think there will be a couple goals in the match, and while I myself will not venture a prediction, as a longtime Wanderers fan, I hope the home team takes 3 points.