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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Behind Enemy Lines


Everton are looking for a second successive Premier League win on Saturday when they face struggling Bolton Wanderers.

Owen Coyle's side are still yet to fully recover from a nightmare run of fixtures at the start of the season and are currently in the relegation zone.

But the Reebok Stadium was the venue for one of Everton's most disappointing afternoons of last season as the Blues slipped to a 2-0 defeat.

So what can David Moyes' side expect this time around? We've asked Trotters season ticket holder Andrew Beckett and the Bolton News's Marc Iles as we go Behind Enemy Lines.

Premier League Problems

The fixture list dealt Bolton a cruel hand at the start of the season as they were pitted against a host of big clubs in the opening weeks of the campaign.

But failure to win some of the subsequent fixtures has left Wanderers in the bottom three - a position that 'concerns' supporter Andrew Beckett.

And Marc Iles, the Trotters reporter for the Bolton News believes the team's confidence has suffered from losing so many games early in the season.

"The fixtures at the start of the season have had a real knock on effect. Facing United, City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all inside seven weeks, they were on a hiding to nothing," he explained.

"But that affects the confidence levels and there is no doubt that the results against the sides they should have beaten like Norwich, Sunderland and last week at West Brom haven't been to Owen Coyle's liking and it has been very up and down at the moment."

Owen Coyle

Still On Owen's Side?

The Bolton Wanderers' fans relationship with previous boss Gary Megson was fractious at best. But when he was replaced by Owen Coyle, a man adored by the supporters as a player, there was a feeling that the Glaswegian would be given time to get things right.

Coyle has attempted to introduce a more attractive style of football and for the most part his young team looked to be moving in the right direction.

There have been some small signs of unrest in recent weeks but supporter Andrew Beckett still believes the former Burnley manager is best equipped to inspire further progression.

"Owen took us from a relegation position in the 2009-10 season to a team flirting with the top eight for most of last season," said Beckett.

"Too many clubs nowadays make knee jerk reactions when it comes to managers' jobs, stability comes from teams that stick with their manager through thick and thin, if we do end up getting relegated then that is the point a managers position should be reviewed, not mid way through the season. 

"Owen is a popular man, you can tell he is dedicated to the team, the players seem to like him and he's made some quality signings for the club, people like Chris Eagles, and I'm still confident he's the right man to manage Bolton Wanderers."

Gary Cahill

On His Way?

Defender Gary Cahill is undoubtedly the jewel in the Bolton crown but it is looking increasingly likely that his future lies away from the club.

Cahill has reportedly attracted interest from the likes of Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea and Beckett believes he deserves a chance to test himself at the highest level.

"You want to hold onto your best players but at the same time it would be wrong to stop them from achieving better things," he added.

"Gary seems to have the chance to play Champions League football for one of the big four and as long as they make a 'fair' offer for him that both clubs are happy with then I think Gary will move on in the January transfer window."

Cahill's form has come into question as the speculation surrounding his future has intensified but Iles believes he has been a victim of the team's inconsistency.

He said: "I think he's admitted himself that it hasn't been easy but his bad form hasn't been sticking out like a sore thumb or anything.

"He hasn't been at his very best but I think he's done okay. He's been quite up and down a bit like the team.

"But the true measure of his quality has been at international level, he's forged a partnership with John Terry and now playing for Bolton he's a first choice for England."

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