This Saturday sees the first meeting between Bolton Wanderers and Swansea City in the FA Cup since the 1925/26 season, when the English side came out as 3-0 winners.
For the Trotters, who reached the semi-finals last season, this fixture will be a welcome relief from the struggles they have faced in the Premier League and Swansea will see it as a great opportunity to kick-start what has so far been a terrible away record this campaign.
The campaign so far has been a dreadful one for Owen Coyle and his Bolton side, who have spent the vast majority of it in the relegation zone, but the past ten days have seen a rare glimmer of sunshine cast over the Reebok Stadium.
After overcoming Macclesfield 2-0 in an FA Cup third-round replay, Wanderers then produced one of the shocks of the season with their deserved 3-1 victory over a poor Liverpool side.
Those three points were enough to move them out of the bottom three for the first time and renew spirits among the players ahead of this difficult cup tie.
The win was a rare one, being just their second home success of the league season, but it moved them up to fifth in the current form table as they have now collected ten points from six games, having only earned nine in the previous 16.
Swansea have scored just three and conceded 13 in the second halves of their away games, whereas Bolton have scored four more in the second 45 than the first.
Despite the recent upturn in results, Coyle is likely to shuffle his pack for this FA Cup game, with Arsenal coming to the Reebok Stadium on Wednesday.
The strength of the Trotters line-up will go a long way towards telling us whether they see the cup as a great distraction or a massive hindrance in their battle to stay in the Premier League.
As for Bolton’s opponents, they come into the game on the back of a disappointing loss to a resurgent Sunderland, but will be buoyed ahead of this weekend’s clash by the news that club captain Alan Tate is set to return to action after months on the sidelines with a broken leg.
Tate’s return is likely to see him partner Ashley Williams in defence as on-loan Spurs defender Steven Caulker is ineligible.
Boss Brendan Rodgers has intimated that he could make further changes as well, despite also saying that he sees progression in the cup as a great way of maintaining confidence ahead of the remainder of the league campaign.
One thing that could stand in the way of a Swansea win though is their abysmal away record, which has seen them win just twice on their travels in all competitions.
In the league they have only scored eight goals on the road, although they did put four past Championship side Barnsley in the previous round of the cup.
It is this terrible away record that makes Swansea 39/20 outsiders for the game at the weekend despite being seven points better off than their hosts in the Premier League.
Bolton are 27/20 to progress to the fifth round inside 90 minutes with a third straight win at home, while the 3Way football betting market is rounded off by the draw, which is priced at 9/4.
With Bolton and Swansea both enjoying a reasonably prosperous time of late the result of this match is incredibly difficult to predict.
What is more predictable, however, is that the game will see over 1.5 goals, something that has happened in each of Wanderers 27 games in all competitions – the odds of a repeat on Saturday are 7/25.
So, with goals appearing to be a given in this fixture, it is worthwhile looking at the goals market and odds of 3/1 on both teams scoring in the first half stand out for me.
Bolton would be six points better off if games ended after 45 minutes and Swansea have scored in the first half of three of their last four games, including the cup game against Barnsley.
My pick for this game, though, is for the sides to be level at the break and Bolton to emerge victorious at full-time at odds of 5/1. Swansea have scored just three and conceded 13 in the second halves of their away games, whereas Bolton have scored four more in the second 45 than the first.
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