Football: Todd demands repeat show from Bolton

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The Independent Online
COLIN TODD, the Bolton Wanderers manager, wants his side to reproduce the form which saw them beat the former First Division leaders Birmingham City when they face the new Nationwide pacesetters, Huddersfield Town, at the Reebok Stadium today.

"I'm looking for a similar performance from my lads to the one we put in against Birmingham when they were top," Todd said. "By that I mean setting our stall out and creating early chances."

Huddersfield could be without their strikers Marcus Stewart, who has a thigh injury, and Wayne Allison, who is ill. The Terriers' manager, Peter Jackson, said: "I'd rate them at about 50-50, but I am hopeful they will both come through."

Portsmouth's manager, Alan Ball, has urged his players to take heart from their narrow Worthington Cup defeat against Wimbledon when they face second-placed Sunderland at Fratton Park today. "Going forward we've proved we're more than a match for anyone," he said. "Now it's important for us to bounce back against Sunderland."

The Wolves manager, Mark McGhee, is considering playing with three strikers against high-flying Bury at Molineux, as his side go in search of their first win in six matches. Steve Bull has recovered from his knee injury, and McGhee may field him alongside Robbie Keane and David Connolly.

"It is certainly one of my options and it is in my thoughts," said McGhee, who deployed the trio in the final hour of last Saturday's defeat at Huddersfield. Bury's manager, Neil Warnock, said: "Wolves have struggled so they'll want to kick-start their season - but we are up for it too."

The Birmingham manager, Trevor Francis, remains upbeat about his side's prospects before the trip to Norwich City, despite losing the last two games. "As long as we stick in there and keep picking up results along the way, I still believe that it is going to be a very good season," he said.

Malcolm Shotton is praying his Oxford United side have got over last Saturday's 7-0 defeat at Sunderland, ahead of their game against Queen's Park Rangers at the Manor Ground. "It's taken all week to get it out of our system - and the proof of the pudding will be tomorrow," he said yesterday.

Crystal Palace will be out to improve on their recent poor form when they take on Sheffield United at Selhurst Park in tomorrow lunchtime's televised fixture. The Eagles will be without Sasa Curcic, who is away on international duty with Yugoslavia.

In the Third Division, Halifax Town's player-manager Kieran O'Regan is not unduly concerned about facing Chris Waddle, the former England and Newcastle winger, on his Torquay debut at The Shay today.

"I believe we are good enough to beat Torquay whether they have Chris Waddle or not," O'Regan said.