Spurs v Bolton: Can Sturridge help Trotters back onto their feet?
GIVEN that Bolton put four goals past Tottenham when the sides last met, Spurs fans may wonder why Owen Coyle felt the need to take Daniel Sturridge on loan on Monday.
The 21-year-old has made 21 appearances for his parent club Chelsea this season, scoring four goals, but he will spend the rest of the campaign at the Reebok Stadium – following in the footsteps of Jack Wilshere, who also gained valuable top-flight experience at Bolton last season.
Sturridge opened his account for Bolton with a late, late winner in Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over Wolves, and Coyle believes the young striker can have just as big an impact as his former England Under-21 team-mate.
“You look at the impact that Jack had last year and since he’s gone back to Arsenal,” said Coyle this week.
“I think Fabio Capello’s now talking about building the England team around him because of the quality he’s shown, and he’s continued to improve. Sometimes young players just need that opportunity and then their career just blossoms.
“When he [Sturridge] has had an opportunity to play he’s shown everybody the quality he has and he’ll get that opportunity at Bolton Wanderers.
“It will be up to him to go and show, not only the Barclays Premier League, but the whole world the talent he has, because I certainly believe in it.”
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Sturridge made his Bolton debut from the bench this week and is unlikely to start at White Hart Lane on Saturday, but if the Trotters’ recent form is anything to go by, he may well be needed at some stage.
Having scored 15 goals in five games in November – starting with that 4-2 home win over Spurs – Bolton have suddenly struggled to find the net.
Sturridge’s injury time winner on Wednesday was Bolton’s first goal in four games, and Coyle’s side have lost their last five games away from home – netting just once in that run.
At the other end, Bolton have strengthened their back line with a �2.3million move for Middlesbrough’s David Wheater, but he may also start on the bench, behind the usual pairing of Gary Cahill and Zat Knight.
The verdict: After this, Tottenham travel to Sunderland, Milan and Blackpool, so it is vital that they make the most of home advantage here and bank three points.
Nothing less will do and Spurs should overcome an out-of-form, misfiring Bolton side.
Prediction: Tottenham 1 Bolton 0