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Boss wary of wounded animal at Bolton

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes says City must not undo the good work of last Saturday's win over the league leaders when taking on Bolton this afternoon.

There is still a buzz around the club after last weekend's 2-1 win over Chelsea, but the short trip up the M61 has proved to be a problematic one for City in recent years.

It's a week under five years since City last recorded a win at the Reebok Stadium in the Barclays Premier League, with a Carling Cup win two years ago being the only time City have scored there since Joey Barton's goal in December 2004.

Five straight defeats have seen today's hosts slide towards the bottom of the table in recent weeks, but it was from last place overall that Gary Megson's side beat Hughes' Blues in 2008, so is the City boss wary of a wounded animal? 

 

If we are to be viewed as a top side, which we feel we are, on the back of the performance against Chelsea we have to produce a result at a tough place like Bolton.

...Mark Hughes...

 

"We found that out last year," Hughes agrees, "when they were in a worse position but they beat us 2-0. We feel now that we are a stronger team than the one we fielded on that day, and because of that we feel confident about getting a positive result.

"On the back of the Chelsea result what is important is that we continue in the same vein, make sure we continue to produce what we did against Chelsea and Arsenal. If we do we should have enough to beat Bolton, but we know at given times they will create chances because of the way they play and where they put the ball. If you compete and deal with the second ball against Bolton you have a real opportunity to get at them.

"We've put a huge effort into certain games but when you come through against the teams that are acknowledged as the better teams in the league you want to maintain that. There have been too many examples in the past where we, and other teams, have come crashing down after a win against one of the so-called big four.

"If we are to be viewed as a top side, which we feel we are, on the back of the performance against Chelsea we have to produce a result at a tough place like Bolton. They make good territorial gains and have good delivery, you have to defend properly against them so it will be a challenge."

One familiar face who should line up for Bolton today will be that of Kevin Davies. The bustling striker was a team-mate of Hughes' at Southampton a decade ago, so the City boss is fully aware of what an important part he will play in Wanderers' plans today.

"He's a big player for them, and a lot of their play is geared to getting the ball into him. I played alongside him and I know how good he is at resisting challenges or getting flick-ons.

"They will look to exploit what he does so it will be a test, and a different one from the last two games. For us it's about understanding what's in store and making sure we deal with it."

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