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Bolton boss unfazed by Sporting task

Published: Thursday 6 March 2008, 4.00CET
Bolton Wanderers FC are hoping to continue their remarkable UEFA Cup run against Sporting Clube de Portugal but may have to do so without two key players.
Bolton boss unfazed by Sporting task
Gary Megson has enjoyed an impressive UEFA Cup campaign ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

BoltonSporting

Goals scored9
 
7
Attempts on target30
 
35
Attempts off target23
 
37
Corners30
 
42
Offsides21
 
19
Fouls committed131
 
81
Yellow cards22
 
6
Red cards0
 
0

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Published: Thursday 6 March 2008, 4.00CET

Bolton boss unfazed by Sporting task

Bolton Wanderers FC are hoping to continue their remarkable UEFA Cup run against Sporting Clube de Portugal but may have to do so without two key players.

Mired in relegation worries towards the foot of the Premier League table, Bolton Wanderers FC are hoping to continue their remarkable UEFA Cup run against Sporting Clube de Portugal but may have to do so without two key players.

Sporting respect
Gary Megson's side are teetering on the brink of the bottom three in England, with only goal difference separating them from Reading FC in 18th place, yet they have been a different team in Europe. Unbeaten in six games to date, they overcame Club Atlético de Madrid to reach the last 16 against all expectations, and the Bolton manager insists now is not the time to be daunted by the pedigree of their opposition. "[Sporting] have got a lot of good players and a very strong squad but we don't fear any team we play," said the 48-year-old. "We don't fear any of the Sporting players but we've got a lot of respect for them."

Nolan doubt
Sporting are unlikely to underestimate Bolton in Lancashire either, especially after the manner in which the English side beat Atlético 1-0 there to help claim a place in the last 16. The goalscorer three weeks ago, El Hadji Diouf, is suspended for the first leg, however, while Kevin Nolan faces a late fitness test after suffering a back injury during the 3-1 defeat by Liverpool FC on Sunday, and both would be sorely missed by Megson.

Striking worries
Sporting have concerns of their own and Paulo Bento is already resigned to being without Liedson, with the 30-year-old having missed Sunday's 1-1 Lisbon derby draw against SL Benfica due to a strain to his left thigh. With Derlei (knee) and Yannick Djaló (thigh) also injured, Montenegrin Milan Purović and Rodrigo Tiuí are the only forwards available, with young Paraguayan Luís Paez still not match fit. Midfielder Leandro Romagnoli is back, however, having recovered from an injured right knee.

'Our goal'
Bolton's win against Atlético came as a surprise to many but Bento was adamant that the challenge of meeting the English side is no less intimidating than the Spanish giants, saying "Theoretically, it is better to face Bolton [than Atlético] but they are the side that won the tie." The viewpoint has apparently filtered down to his charges, though a firm belief underpins any respect, with Anderson Polga adding that "Bolton are a great team but our goal is to reach the final."

Last updated: 06/03/08 20.52CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2008/matches/round=15121/match=301949/prematch/preview/index.html#bolton+boss+unfazed+sporting+task

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