Fulham Preview

Last updated : 14 May 2004 By Mark Heys
Bolton Wanderers wrap up their 2003-2004 Premiership campaign tommorow as they take on Fulham at the Reebok Stadium and know that a win against the London side could earn them a top six finish providing Newcastle United fail to defeat Liverpool at Anfield.

It has been a very successful season for the Trotters who will finish in their best ever league position since the 1958-1959 season and that is set to earn them anything between £7,085,000 and £8,175,000 providing on how the league table ends up.

With that in mind Sam Allardyce will be given more scope to strengthen his squad for the summer and already he has confirmed that Everton's David Unsworth and Birmingham City's Aliou Cisse are holding talks with the club.

Although the Carling Cup Final ended in defeat to Middlesbrough, no one could ever have expected the club to have reached the latter stages given the club's policy to rest first team players for such competitions so everyone connected with the club can certainly look back on the season with a massive degree of pride and satisfaction.

But before we book our summer holidays and let the international football take centre stage we must face the Cottagers who themselves where written off by many before the season had started but their manager Chris Coleman has acted wisely in the transfer market and gelled his team together despite the loss of top scorer Louis Saha to Manchester United earlier on this spring.

Bolton defender Nicky Hunt faces a race against time to make the game after withdrawing late on during last weeks win over Everton with a reoccuring shoulder injury. Anthony Barness is on standby to replace the England U21 player should he be ruled out.

Fulham will be without the suspended Zat Knight for the trip to Lancashire and manager Coleman will also be unable to call on the services of captain Lee Clark (calf) and striker Facundo Sava (thigh). American striker Brian McBride, a familiar face in North West circles after spells with Preston North End and Everton will be hoping for a starting role.

Last time out the London side gained victory in the tie at Loftus Road. Kevin Davies gave Bolton the lead early in the second half but two goals in quick succession by Sean Davis and Facundo Sava sent Fulham on the way to victory. The Wanderers have never beaten Fulham in the Premiership and the previous two meetings at the Reebok Stadium between the two sides have ended goalless but I am certain that hoodoo can be broken tommorow.