Premier League Preview: Bolton Wanderers - Hull City

Big relegation battle at the Reebok

Kick-Off: Tuesday, December 29, 20:00.
Reebok Stadium, Bolton.

Bolton Wanderers face Hull City on Tuesday evening in what is a crucial contest in the Premier League’s relegation battle.

Gary Megson’s Bolton do find themselves in the relegation zone, but they do have games in hand on all their rivals – three over West Ham and two over Hull, Portsmouth and Wolves.

After a disastrous spell, they have improved of late and only lost one of their last four league fixtures.

However, after a start to the campaign that has seen just four victories from their first 17 games, Megson knows there is a lot of work to be done if his side are to beat the drop this season.

Hull are also in the drop-zone, and the alarm bells will be starting to ring at the KC Stadium.

Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to champions Manchester United made it five successive games without a victory after they had previously threatened to pull away from the bottom three after big victories over Everton and Stoke City.

Unlike the last campaign, the Tigers have struggled badly away from home, with no victories and just two points picked up from their nine matches on the road.

Home advantage means it is Bolton who go in as the favorites to secure an important win.

FORM GUIDE

Bolton

Dec 26: Burnley 1-1 Bolton Wanderers
Dec 15: Bolton Wanderers 3-1 West Ham
Dec 12: Bolton Wanderers 3-3 Man City
Dec 5: Wolves 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
Nov 28: Fulham 1-1 Bolton Wanderers

Hull

Dec 26: Hull City 1-3 Manchester United
Dec 19: Arsenal 3-0 Hull City
Dec 12: Hull City 0-0 Blackburn Rovers
Dec 05: Aston Villa 3-0 Hull City
Nov 28: Manchester City 1-1 Hull City

TEAM NEWS

Bolton

Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba is expected to return to the starting line-up after missing the draw with Burnley through suspension.

However, Gavin McCann (ankle) is rated as very doubtful to make his return.

Possible starting XI (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Lee, Cohen, Muamba, Taylor, Davies, Klasnic.

Hull

Manager Phil Brown will wait until late fitness checks on Geovanni (knee) and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (ankle) before finalizing his team selection.

Seyi Olofinjana will play his final game for Hull before departing for the African Cup of Nations.

Possible starting XI (4-4-2): Myhill, Mendy, Zayatte, Gardner, Dawson, Garcia, Olofinjana, Boateng, Hunt, Altidore, Fagan.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bolton – Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor’s goal against Burnley at the weekend was his fourth of the season and the former Portsmouth winger will be eager to make his mark in what is another big game on Tuesday.

Hull – Stephen Hunt

Stephen Hunt has been one of Hull’s top performers since signing from Reading in the summer, but the Republic of Ireland winger will need to make even more contributions if the Tigers are to survive.

PREDICTION

Bolton are slowly but surely improving, and they do have games in hand on most of their relegation rivals.

Hull are in trouble and need a win quickly or they could start to lose touch with the sides above them.

This should be a tense encounter and it is tough to call, but I am going for a narrow home win.

Bolton Wanderers 2–1 Hull City

Chris Myson, Goal.com

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