Bolton Wanderers Preview - Away, Oct 22
THE 2011-12 season has been a particularly hard on Owen Coyle and Bolton who currently reside in a relegation spot having faced Manchester City, United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal so far.
Sunderland too are struggling and if there's such a thing as a 'six-pointer' at this fledgling stage of the campaign, this is surely it.
After an impressive 4-0 trashing of QPR on their return to the top-flight, Coyle's side dropped like a stone recording just three more points from their next seven games.
The loss of first-choice 'keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen didn't help the Trotters' cause when they went down 5-0 at home to Chelsea but any kind of luck appears to have deserted the Lancashire outfit this season.
Long-term injuries suffered by Stuart Holden and Lee Chung Yong have certainly not helped either. Two of the club's most exciting and influential players.
Summer signing Tye Mears had similar luck, breaking his leg during the course of pre-season having arrived at the club from Coyle's former employers, Burnley.
Also arriving from the Clarets was Chris Eagles. The former Manchester United trainee arrived in a deal worth roughly £3m and has looked decent so far for Wanderers.
Tuncay Sanli also made his Premier League return from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg on-loan. Tuncay has of course previously graced these shores with his presence at both Middlesbrough and Stoke. Frustratingly inconsistent all too often the Turk has top-quality ability in his locker though.
Nigel Reo-Coker and Darren Pratley were also handy midfield pick-ups, both on free transfers whilst David N'Gog adds a fresher vibe to the front line.
Now 22, the French youth cap will look to establish himself in England at the Reebok and has impressed early on. A first goal of the season the 3-1 win at Wigan has certainly endeared the former PSG man to the Trotters faithful.
Owen Coyle has said that there only only a 'couple of niggles' in terms of injury so should have a fully-fit squad to choose from for Saturday.
Sunderland are also looking at a fresh bill of health with Nicklas Bendtner and Phil Bardsley back.
Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen; Boyata, Wheater, Cahill, Robinson; Eagles, Reo-Coker, Pratley, Petrov; Davies & N'Gog.
Sunderland: Mignolet; O'Shea, Brown, Turner, Bardsley; Larsson, Vaughan, Cattermole (c), Sessegnon; Bendtner & Wickham.