(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)
Phil Parkinson is eyeing a FA Cup shock when Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace visit his Bolton side tomorrow, but won’t be fooled by their poor form.
Despite impressive performances in the cup, Palace were statistically the worst team in England’s four top leagues during 2016, and have so far shown little sign of improvement since Sam Allardyce was appointed just before Christmas.
On the other hand, Bolton, who have regrouped after relegation from the Championship last season, are hunting for an instant return to the second tier and sit in the automatic promotion spots in League One, just three points off the top.
Nevertheless, Parkinson is trying hard to manage the confidence of some Bolton fans going into the third round fixture, saying: “This game will be a good test for us.
“We will go into it as underdogs, but we’re relishing the challenge.
With the Eagles making the long trip north to face Bolton on their home turf, where they have lost just once all season, the Trotters faithful will be forgiven if they’re dream of a great cup shock.
Parkinson himself knows a lot about upsetting the big boys in this historic competition, having guided his Bradford side to an amazing 4-2 victory away to Chelsea in 2015, but is in no doubt about the tough test Bolton have ahead of them.
“Palace have some real quality in their team and although they find themselves down the bottom, they are a huge threat,” said Parkinson.
“Our players will be eager to show the football world what they are capable of against top flight opposition.”