Henrik Pedersen is determined to help Bolton Wanderers win the FA Cup after a four-month absence with an Achilles injury - and the 30-year-old Dane could get a place in the starting line-up against West Ham tonight in the fifth-round replay at Upton Park.
Pedersen scored at the weekend in the 4-1 thrashing of the Hammers in the League after stepping off the bench, and it was a sweet moment considering his injury problems.
Pedersen, who had featured in 13 matches this campaign before suffering the setback, said: "I just want to be part of our remaining games after what was in effect another pre-season. It was very disappointing to get the Achilles injury as I had been a regular in the side.
"The problem would not go away and it was difficult for me. You look forward to games when you are playing, not when you are injured. Even after an operation, the Achilles was not right. It was only when they did something to the nerve that my condition improved."
El Hadji Diouf, Bruno N'Gotty and Abdoulaye Faye could all come into contention for Bolton. Diouf (hernia) and N'Gotty (ankle) missed the 4-1 win because of injury while Faye was ruled out with a virus.
Pedersen added: "We are expecting a totally different game at their place. They will be angry after what happened on Saturday and will be out for revenge."
Hayden Mullins made precisely that warning yesterday. The two sides have already met four times this season and West Ham's best return was the battling goalless draw that set up this replay but the Hammers are set to be back at full strength after Alan Pardew rested a number of key players at the weekend.
Anton Ferdinand is set to return from midfield to the heart of West Ham's defence while Dean Ashton, Marlon Harewood, Yossi Benayoun and Nigel Reo-Coker are all in line to start. And Mullins warned they have a few old scores to settle with Bolton.
"It was a massive disappointment on Saturday, and not a nice game to be involved in," said Mullins. "We were never at the races - but the good thing is we've got a chance to put things right immediately, and the feeling among the lads is that it is going to be a very different game."
Mullins believes returning to Upton Park, on a surface designed for West Ham's fluid style of play, will be a major advantage. "I'm not making any excuses, but the pitch at Bolton is one of the worst in the Premiership and made it difficult to play the kind of football we have played at home this season," he said.Reuse content