Yeah, I'm still bitter about this.
Ah yes, we're really getting into it now. We've reached the middle of our bad run of fixtures, and appropriately enough it's the most intimidating team. Manchester United have not been messing about this season and currently sit top of the table on goal difference. This may have something to do with the fact that they knocked a combined 11 goals past Spurs and Arsenal, while only conceding 2. Mind, they've only scored a comparatively paltry 2 goals on the road this season, but Fergie and his merry band of young'uns will be looking to inflate that number at the Reebok. It's has been by no means an easy start to the season, but it is about to get a lot harder
This is not to say that it's an impossible game and that Bolton are about to be beaten 9-0 (although I acknowledge this is a possibility). Last time we hosted United, the match ended in a 2-2 draw, and there surely won't be a shortage of goals this match given Bolton's new attacking options. David N'Gog and Gael Kakuta are both in the squad for the first time, while the back is bolstered by the addition of Dedryck Boyata. Coyle is faced with a difficult decision when it comes to the strikers. This would obviously be a great time for N'Gog to be given a go, but the question then becomes who to drop. Klasnic has gotten off to a great start this season, bagging 3 in 3, but at the same time it's hard to see captain Kevin Davies being shown his way to the bench. All these options added to the facts that Bolton have the best shot conversion rate in the league at 30.4%, and that David de Gea has made more saves than any other keeper this season at 17, means it should be an interesting game at that end. The fact that United captain and defensive wall Nemanja Vidic remains out will only help Bolton's case.
Coyle however has been ignoring most of this chat and been focusing on the mental aspect of the match, which is undoubtedly essential against such intimidating opponents.
"With Manchester United, it's difficult to find any weaknesses, but my focus will be on making sure my group are at their best. We know as long as we get to our maximum that we can sleep well at night."
Getting to your "maximum" against United is no easy task, but if there were ever a time to do it, this would be it.
For more coverage of the match, be sure to check out The Busby Babe, our friendly local Manchester United blog's preview