In the midst of a dire Championship season, Leeds United have virtually sold out their 6,850 ticket allocation for their FA Cup 4th Round clash on Saturday. That number, 6,850, would break the record for the number of traveling fans that Bolton has ever hosted at the Reebok (now Macron) Stadium. It is also sure to be one of the largest away followings of the weekend, and a huge bright spot for Leeds in 2016.
At stake is a place in the last 16 of the oldest cup competition in the world, a feat the Whites have managed only once in 13 years, and that last time was 2013. Even with the number 13 coming up twice there, perhaps it's Leeds turn to have a bit a luck when Saturday comes. A win is the least the traveling faithful of Leeds deserve as they journey over the Pennines to a game that Bolton Manager Neil Lennon predicts will be a "blood and thunder" Yorkshire-Lancashire Cup tie.
Lennon is hoping to build momentum following last weekend's victory over MK Dons and a cup run for them would bring a financial boost to the cash-strapped and rock-bottom club when they desperately need one.
Steve Evans, meanwhile, hopes to be in the draw of this 'magical Cup' on Sunday and will be fielding a full-strength side with the intention of progressing, knowing that the Championship season is all but over for his middling squad.
However, the FA Cup really is about what happens on the day, and "anything can happen" as the two teams meet outside of the pressures of the league.
Previous FA Cup Honors
- Winners: 1972
- Runners up: 1965, 1970, 1973
- Winners: 1923, 1926, 1929, 1958
- Runners up: 1894, 1904, 1953
The form sheet can be torn up for Cup games, but for the record, Bolton (including their 2 labored FA Cup ties against Non-League Eastleigh) have won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2 of their last five games. They have scored 9 goals whilst conceding 10.
Mirroring Bolton, Leeds United has also won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2. However, their goals ratio is much less at 5 scored and 5 conceded.
Head to head
There have been 29 meetings between the two sides at Bolton. The Trotters have been victorious on 14 occasions, Leeds have won 8, and the teams have drawn 7.
However, in the FA Cup, the 2 sides have clashed 4 times with honors shared, as Leeds won 2 and Bolton 2.
Players to watch
Toumani Diagouraga had a reasonable debut for the Whites away at Brentford. Saturday's game will be the first time many Leeds fans will have seen his talents on display in person. The defensive midfielder will be keen to impress in a big matchup in front of the Leeds faithful.
Emile Heskey is a former cup winner, knocking out Leeds in the process with Liverpool in 2001. The experienced striker‘s better days are behind him, but he is still a big name on Bolton's team sheet. (editor's note: but not today, he didn't end up making the FA Cup bench for BWFC.)
20-year-old Zac Clough may be more notable by his absence, as the young striker has been linked with a possible move today to, of all places, our Leeds United. Although recently injured, his omission would still set tongues wagging in the rumor mills.
Silvestri, Taylor, Cooper, Bellusci, Wootton, Cook, Bridcutt, Diagouraga, Dallas, Doukara, Antenucci
Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Adeyemi, Sloth, Murphy, Carayol, Erwin
Amos, Vela, Holding, Dervite, Moxey, Trotter, Feeney, Pratley, Davies, Silva, Madine
Subs: Rachubka, Spearing, Dobbie, Osede, Twardzik, Woolery, Walker
Leeds United at Bolton Wanderers
FA Cup 4th Round fixture
Macron Stadium, Bolton
Saturday, January 29th
7:00am PT / 10:00am ET / 3:00pm BT
Head says 1-1. Heart says 2-1 Leeds.
What do you think? Does Leeds pull off a much-needed win on the road at Bolton? Is the FA Cup all we really have left to play for this season? Is the FA Cup still the greatest thing in the entire world? Let us know in the comments and vote in our poll. Thanks for reading. #MOT