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Great form but have you seen who's next? - 05/12/2003

Great form but have you seen who's next?
Happy with a point tomorrow?
   Sam Allardyce
   Chris Coleman
   Bolton Wanderers

Bolton have been doing tremendously well over recent games. We’re getting results and entertainment and in Premiership terms – we’ve never had it so good. But it’s not time to get carried away, take a look at the fixture list and it’s obvious that points will have to be hard won during the rest of December. Fulham and Chelsea away, then Arsenal at home before a return to Anfield!!

The Carling Cup performance was excellent, particularly with Sam using a few players on the fringe of the side. Ibraham Ba and Jardel did ok, but I can’t see a future for either of them. Ba is no better than some of the players we already have at the club, whereas Jardel isn’t going to get any fitter and wont work outside of the box. It was interesting to see the frustration on Okocha and Djorkaeff’s faces during the Liverpool game – the Brazilian doesn’t make any runs and can’t hold the ball up. Kevin Davies came on and effectively changed the game, he chased lost causes, he held the ball up, and made runs for his midelders – Jardel v Davies – no contest.

Okocha has been outstanding over recent weeks, the only concern is how the team will react when he’s away with the African Nations Cup. Djorkaeff made an excellent return, he looks fit, sharp and hungry after his five weeks out. You couldn’t say the same about Emerson Thome, but players are different and I’m sure our other Brazilian will have benefited from his 90 minutes. He may need a couple of games under his belt before he returns to his best form.

The so called big news is that the big man is in for Rivaldo, it could happen. If we can loan out Jardel it’ll free up wages to pay for the former AC player. But it’s a long way from coming off. The other transfer news is that of Donovan Ricketts arriving to push Jussi for the number 1 jersey. Kevin Poole came in and did very well at Anfield, but we have to be realistic, he’s about 41 and perhaps isn’t breathing down Jussi’s neck. All players need to be challenged, they put in that extra few percent in training and this shows on matchday. This isn’t any criticim of our Finnish keeper – far from it as he's been on top form – but it will freshen things up for him.

Fulham will provide us with a tough game tomorrow. Sam will say he’s looking for three points, but he’d probably take a point. Chris Coleman was one of the favourites to get the sack back in August, but now he’s about to sign a contract extension. It’s a funny old game, but it also shows how well Fulham have been playing…it’s not going to be easy.

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