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Spurs Odyssey Preview - FA Cup 6th Round
Spurs v Bolton - 17.03.12

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Spurs' Full Cup record against Bolton Wanderers.

24-25   2       H    1-1    Seed
        2R      A    1-0    Lane
34-35   5       H    1-1    W Evans
        5R      A    1-1    G Hunt
        5-2nd R VP   0-2  
47-48   3       A    2-0    Duquemin 2
77-78   3       H    2-2    Hoddle, Duncan
        3R      A    1-2    P Taylor (pen)
01-02   4       H    4-0    Anderton, Iversen,
			    Etherington, Barness (o.g)
09-10   5       A    1-1    Defoe
09-10   5R      H    4-0    Pavlyuchenko (2), O.G (2)
96-97   4       A    1-6    Sheringham
01-02   5       H    6-0    Davies, Ferdinand (3)
			    Barness (o.g), Iversen 
04-05   3       A    4-3    Defoe(2), Bunjevcevic, Brown
Wembley beckons!

It goes against the grain with football traditionalists, but now that the FA Cup semi-finals are held at Wembley, the winner of this tomorrow's FA Cup Quarter-final tie will have a trip to the new Wembley for a semi-final. Spurs were there of course two years ago, but then inexplicably lost to a Portsmouth side ailing with financial problems, which have yet to go away.

Bolton made it all the way to a Wembley semi-final last year but then suffered a 5-0 beating by Stoke, who, by losing to Man City in the final, qualified for the Europa League. That prize could have belonged to Bolton, who must still be smarting from such an end to their campaign. Man Utd lost to City in the other semi-final, and Bolton had real hopes of re-living the 1958 Cup Final, when they had beaten the Munich-stricken United. The "Lion of Vienaa", Nat Lofthouse, who died in January last year had scored both Bolton's goals in the 1958 final, and it would have been a dream memorial had Bolton made it to another final last year. That was not to be.

I'm not counting chickens of course, but Spurs do have an excellent cup record against Bolton with one or two notable exceptions. Over the last 10 years we have met in 4 ties (5 matches) and we have won 19-4 on aggregate. In 4 of those matches, the "Trotters" have been pre-occuoied by the fear of relegation, and that is their situation this week, with crucial Premier League games to come against Aston Villa and Blackburn in the week following this match.

10 years ago, we faced Sam Allardyce's Bolton in both FA Cup and League Cup. We thrashed them 6-0 in the League Cup, with goals from Simon Davies, Les Ferdinand (3), a Barness own goal, and Steffen Iversen. This was the year we conquered Chelsea in the League Cup semi-final, but lost to them in the FA Cup quarter-final.

In that season's FA Cup Fourth Round, we won 4-0. Barness got another own goal, and the others came from an Anderton penalty, then goals by Iversen and Etherington.

The only time we have won any game at Bolton's Reebock Stadium was in the Carling Cup in October 2004. We had lost at home to Bolton on the previous Saturday, when we had mourned Bill Nicholson, whose passing was announced that morning. Bolton were above us in the league this time, and had a good start to that season. Jay Jay Okocha was starring for Wanderers at this time, and Allardyce was successfully recruiting veteran players such as Fernando Hierro. It was 2-2 at full time, but Spurs won 4-3 after extra time, with further goals by Michael Brown, and Jermain Defoe. The late Gary Speed was on Bolton's books at this time but was rested for this game.

On Valentine's Day two years ago, we travelled to Bolton in a fourth round game and came back with a draw, thanks to a Jermain Defoe equaliser. Kevin Davies had given Bolton a first half lead, and Spurs had not been looking so good. In the replay, Bolton were cast aside to the tune of a 4-0 defeat. Roman Pavlyuchenko gave us a 23rd minute lead with a low left footer past Jaaskelainen, who was then credited with an own goal, after Defoe's shot came off the goalkeeper's leg. Eidur Gudjohnsen was with us on loan at the time, and he started the move which led to Spurs' third goal, hitting a ball that Bale chased, and crossed, which was turned in by Andy O'Brien for a second own goal. The game was over as a contest, but Pavlyuchenko added his second and Spurs' fourth goal with minutes to go, with a right-footer.

Full reports for the games mentioned here can be found at the top of this page by following the relevant links.

Spurs have had what should have been an easy run to this stage of the competition, but haven't exactly excelled in our defeats of lower league opposition Cheltenham, Watford and Stevenage. Bolton also had a difficult time in the third round against League Two side Macclesfield. They drew 2-2 away, then managed a 2-0 home win in the replay. In the fourth round Bolton beat Swansea 2-1, but couldn't muster much interest from their support, drawing a crowd of only 11,597. Almost that number were at The New Den, where Bolton beat Millwall 2-0.

Bolton had a "Buy 2 get 1 free" offer for tickets for their Premier League games at home to QPR and Blackburn, but still couldn't fill their ground, although the gate was over 21,000 for the QPR game. When we travelled there two years ago, the gate was only about 13,000. I cana't imagine there will be many travelling fans at White Hart Lane on Saturday, and I understand that there are still quite a few tickets available.

Both teams will have more than half an eye on their mid-week Premier League games, but while Bolton may field a weakened side for the Cup, Spurs have a glint of silverware in their eye, and ought to play a strong side in an attempt to get the tie over with at the first hurdle. There is no official team news as yet, but understand that Aaron Lennon might be available. If he is fit, then perhaps it would be best if he could be saved for next Wednesday's game against Stoke.

I think we could see another case of a weakened Bolton side taking an emphatic exit from this year's competition. I'll go for a 3-0 Tottenham win.

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