Samuel set for starting role

Posted Saturday, August 29, 2009 by PA

Jlloyd Samuel could be in line to make his first Premier League start of the season for Bolton as Gary Megson's side host Liverpool.

Samuel was preferred to new signing Paul Robinson for Tuesday's Carling Cup win at Tranmere and could be set to keep his place in the side. Andy O'Brien is also in contention after recovering from a groin strain.

Joey O'Brien and Ricardo Gardner are still nursing long-term problems, but Ricardo Vaz Te is back in training with the squad and hoping to be given a run-out.

Ahead of the game, Megson believes Bolton's most important deals have already been done this summer in retaining the services of key players already in the squad.

Wanderers host Liverpool with the transfer window nearing its close, and with no points on the board so far from two Barclays Premier League games, Megson is keen to bolster his threadbare squad before the September 1 deadline.

The Bolton forward line looks to be a particular concern, with Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander the only recognised strikers currently available and a host of chances squandered in the 1-0 defeats against Sunderland and Hull.

Megson hopes to boost his attacking options with the signing of Cameroon midfielder Achille Emana from Real Betis and the reacquisition of former club captain Kevin Nolan from Newcastle.

But in an unforgiving transfer market, the manager claims that the most significant negotiations have already been completed at the Reebok Stadium.

"We wanted to try and keep as many of those established players as we could, and there are some real good ones in there," Megson said.

"Last year we managed to keep Jussi (Jaaskelainen) and we managed to keep Ali Al Habsi, who would manage to get in most Premier League clubs, so in that position (goalkeeper) we are well stocked.

"Kevin Davies is always linked with some clubs, but nobody has ever been onto me and said that they'll take Kevin, because I think there is a realisation that we just wouldn't entertain it.

"The same goes for Matt Taylor - he came out of Portsmouth's reserves and got 10 goals last year and we need him to start doing the same things again.

"And the biggest one was (Gary) Cahill. Gary came out of Aston Villa's reserves, had a full season here, found himself in the England squad and will kick on and go on even further."

New Liverpool signing Sotirios Kyrgiakos came through a reserve run-out last night and is in line for his Barclays Premier League debut.

The Greece international played 45 minutes of the second string's 3-2 defeat by Blackburn reserves, and with concerns still over Martin Skrtel's jaw injury the new centre-back is set to play at the Reebok.

After two league defeats in three games, boss Rafael Benitez needs to get Liverpool's season on track quickly. But he is still without Fabio Aurelio, Daniel Agger and new midfielder Alberto Aquilani - all long-term injured.

Benitez has questioned Steven Gerrard's form after the two defeats.

The Spaniard has been careful not to be too critical of Gerrard, accepting that even an ordinary Gerrard is better than most midfielders on the planet.

But ahead of the Bolton game, Benitez has gone one step further.

He said: "We have seen Steven playing really well for a while now. He is one of our big names, a key player. He will continue to be that.

"He will know that he has played a couple of games that are not up to his best level. But because he so often plays really well, people maybe can see the difference.

"I know he will be ready now. The players are not stupid, they know when they are not playing well and not up to their best standard. He knows, everybody knows here, that we have to improve."

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