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Three massive games - 28/01/2003

After losing to Newcastle last week, we’re faced with three absolutely massive games. I’ll stick my neck out and say that if we can get 7 out of the 9 available points, then we’ll be playing Premiership football again next season. I know that 7 will only take us to 28 points, but by taking points from Birmingham and West Brom, we’d have helped push both midland clubs further into the mire.

Looking back to the game at St.James Park, we played some good football – especially in the second half, but good football doesn’t automatically bring you points. Both West Ham and Fulham are sides who can and do play attractive football, yet both are under performing. It’s what happens in the final third of the pitch that counts, and although Newcastle scored a good goal from Jenas, there were no scorers on the Bolton sheet.

The media gave Campo a positive reaction, but he didn’t convince me. Sitting in front of the back four gave him time and space, and as a result he had plenty of time to select a pass. If a Premiership and ex-Real Madrid player can’t pick out those passes, then it’s a different game to the one I played not so many years ago! In my opinion he hasn’t got the necessary composure for the Premiership, you get little time or space at this level and he’s been found out on a number of occasions. In this game Newcastle choose not to put a man on him – and why should they? Eleven wins out of twelve speaks for itself.

As I mentioned above, it’s all about putting the ball in the back of the net. The Everton game comes at a time where they’re not enjoying their best spell of football. Rooney is suspended and they went out of the cup to Shrewsbury. Since then they’ve been beaten by Tottenham and did us a favour by taking the points at home to Sunderland. But the question has to be, who’s going to get the Bolton goals tonight? I wouldn’t play Ricketts, he didn’t get a good reception at Newcastle and if the crowd turn on him, then it’ll be a negative situation for the rest of the team. Coupled with the fact that he won't want to injure himself, I simply can’t see the point in him playing. A poor performance is hardly going to boost his value on the transfer market, and if selected, I can't see a the chance of a hat trick. Sam’s been talking of bringing in two strikers, and with the Ballesta deal looking by no means certain, I hope Sam’ll get a breakthrough.

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