Carling Cup - Bolton v Leicester
Date: Wednesday 30th November 2005Carling Cup? You’re having a laugh? Yes, it really does still exist. In this era of European football, it’s easy to forget about the runt of the competitive football litter. But whatever your views, it’s still a route into next season’s UEFA Cup, and as such should be treated seriously, especially as there’s a quarter-final place awaiting the winner tonight – only two steps to Cardiff thereafter. Wanderers will need a win. After a 17-day rest, the lads looked decidedly wobbly in Portugal before the wheels fell of completely against Fulham. A confidence-boosting win ahead of the visit from Arsenal is therefore required, but Leicester City, fresh from bringing high-flying Sheffield United down to earth in the Championship, will be a stern test. A strong-ish BWFC side can therefore be expected. Dear old El Hadji Diouf sits out this one after giving Graham Poll a well-deserved dose of the verbals on Sunday, and so Stelios may return to fill his position (oo-er). Hunt and Pedersen are rumoured to be ready for action again, but as to whether they’ll be risked depends on how far in front, behind or level matters are in the second half. Leicester are these days just another Championship team after their years of success under Martin O’Neill. Amazing to think that not so long ago they won this competition twice! Despite never having been the same since the Wanderers spanked them 5-0 at home four years ago, they are still no mugs. I suspect a close encounter – a still-nervous Wanderers will be up against a solid team with little to lose, and Doncaster’s demolition of Aston Villa means nothing can be taken for granted. So I’ll predict a 1-1 draw, with the Whites squeezing through on penalties.