Bolton - Sunderland Preview: Trotters and Black Cats hope to forget poor league form with strong cup showing
With Dougie Freedman and Martin O'Neil's sides struggling for points in their respective divisions so far this season, the FA Cup provides a welcome distraction for both clubs
By Theo Squires
Mears, Ream, Knight, Alonso
Eagles, Spearing, Pratley, Lee
Gardner, Killagon, Cuellar, Rose
Johnson, Larsson, Colback, McClean
After making their comebacks as substitutes against Leeds United on Tuesday, Benik Afobe and David Ngog (both knocks) are both pushing for starts to Dougie Freedman's starting XI as Bolton welcome Sunderland to the Reebok Stadium.
Mark Davies (shoulder), Josh Vela and David Wheater (both knee) remain out, while Matt Mills and Stuart Holden are both short of match fitness.
Following Tueday's heavy defeat to Liverpool, Sunderland boss. Martin O'Neil will consider whether to rotate his side or not as his side prepare for this FA Cup third round clash.
John O'Shea could return after missing the trip to Anfield through illness, but Lee Cattermole and Wes Brown (both knee) remain long-term absentees for the Black Cats.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Bolton won the first ever FA Cup final that was held at Wembley.
- Sunderland pulled off one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of all time when, as a Second Division side, they won the cup in 1973, defeating First Division giants Leeds United in the final.
- The Trotters have not won any of their last eight meetings against Sunderland, with their last home win against the Black Cats coming towards the end of the 2007-08 season.
- Frazier Campbell (pictured right) made his debut for Sunderland against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium back in August 2009, before scoring his first league goal for the club in the return fixture at the Stadium of Light.
- The two sides last met in the FA Cup in January 2009. Sunderland won that fixture at the Stadium of Light 2-1.
- Kevin Davies is the only player from either side who featured in that match to remain at his club. Adam Bogdan was an unused substitute for Bolton that day.
- David Ngog scored his first ever Premier League goal against Sunderland, for Liverpool.
- Bolton have only ever beaten Sunderland once in the FA Cup. That came back in 1980, with the Black Cats winning five of the other seven meetings in this competition between the two sides.
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Top 3 Predictions
Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Sunderland
- 16.25 %
Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Sunderland
- 10 %
Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Sunderland
- 8.75 %
|FA Cup (FA)||15 Jan 2013||Sunderland 0 - Bolton Wanderers 2|
|FA Cup (FA)||5 Jan 2013||Bolton Wanderers 2 - Sunderland 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||28 Apr 2012||Sunderland 2 - Bolton Wanderers 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||22 Oct 2011||Bolton Wanderers 0 - Sunderland 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||7 May 2011||Bolton Wanderers 1 - Sunderland 2|
|12 Apr 2014||Bolton Wanderers 1 - Barnsley 0||ENG2|
|8 Apr 2014||Doncaster Rovers 1 - Bolton Wanderers 2||ENG2|
|5 Apr 2014||Huddersfield Town 0 - Bolton Wanderers 1||ENG2|
|29 Mar 2014||Bolton Wanderers 1 - Wigan Athletic 1||ENG2|
|25 Mar 2014||Bolton Wanderers 1 - Blackpool 0||ENG2|
|24||Carlos Javier Cuéllar||Defender|
Bolton fans were left to rue the absence of talisman Chung-Yong Lee last season after the popular midfielder missed the majority of last season through injury as the club were relegated to the Championship. While the Trotters might not be flying in the league this year, Lee remains a key player for Bolton, and after scoring four goals in 21 games for the club so far this season, Dougie Freedman will be hoping the South Korean is at his best if the Trotters are to pull of a club upset.
After scoring five times in his first four league games for the club, Fletcher and Sunderland have found things a little harder since then, with the Scot scoring just three times since September, while Martin O'Neil's men have scored more than once in a game on just four occasions. Fletcher will be hopeful he can rediscover his scoring boots against lower league opposition as the Black Cats look to get their season back on track.
Both sides have struggled for form so far this season, with inconsistent performances on the field being a major concern for both managers. In the Trotters' last six home games they have won two, drawn two and lost two, while Sunderland have only won twice away from home all season. Recent defeats to Tottenham and Liverpool have taken the gloss off beating Manchester City, while Dougie Freedman will be hoping to give his side a boost, after failing to reignite a promotion push since replacing Owen Coyle at the Reebok Stadium.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed