O'Brien hopeful over survival
Bolton's Joey O'Brien believes their influential players hold the key to Premier League survival.
By Laura Slatcher
Last Updated: 15/03/08 3:05pm
Joey O'Brien is convinced Bolton will avoid relegation from the Premier League because their squad is full of influential players.
The midfielder is confident the Trotters, who are now back in the bottom three, will avoid the drop into the Championship.
His theory will be put to the test when Bolton face local rivals Wigan in a vital clash at the JJB Stadium on Sunday.
The sides are just three points apart and neither can ideally afford to lose if they hope to beat relegation.
The Irishman believes Bolton's influential players, including Kevin Nolan, Gavin McCann and El-Hadji Diouf, hold the key to their climb up the table.
"There is confidence and belief amongst the players that we can get out of this," insisted O'Brien.
"I know it's easy to say that, but the way we're looking at it, we are one win away from climbing a few places up the table because it is that tight down there.
"That's the way we have to look at it because if we beat Wigan we will probably move up to around 14th or so.
"We also have a game in hand, and I know that's against Manchester United, but we've already turned them over once this season and who is to say we can't do it again.
"I know we're third bottom, but we've quality players, and I think they're really going to come to the fore now because those kind of players always come out on top."
Bolton manager Gary Megson left key players out of their Uefa Cup trip to Sporting Lisbon on Thursday and O'Brien defended his decision.
"We know what the bigger picture is," he added. "Every one of the players put in a lot of effort, and we all wanted to win and reach the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup.
"But the Premier League is the most important thing for us at this moment in time.
"When you look at the players that were rested, a lot will now be expected of us at Wigan. It's definitely a six-pointer."