x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bolton wander at Wembley to relax

Owen Coyle gave his Bolton Wanderers players a glimpse of Wembley Stadium this week - and Paul Robinson says that tactic could prove to be a masterstroke by the manager.

Bolton defender Paul Robinson, left, is hoping his wife does not go into an early labour during today’s semi-final.
Bolton defender Paul Robinson, left, is hoping his wife does not go into an early labour during today’s semi-final.

Owen Coyle gave his Bolton Wanderers players a glimpse of Wembley Stadium this week - and Paul Robinson says that tactic could prove to be a masterstroke by the manager.

Robinson, 32, feels the team will now be relaxed and ready when they walk out today to face Stoke City in the FA Cup semi-final at the national stadium.

The former West Bromwich Albion and Watford full-back said after a visit to the stadium this week: "You can see the manager's point of view in taking us to Wembley. There are a lot of young players in our team who are not used to the surroundings and what it is like.

"It was a great opportunity for them to go with their cameras and take their pictures as well as see a fantastic stadium and take it all in."

Robinson has fallen twice at the semi-final hurdle of the competition, first with Watford in 2003 when they lost to Southampton.

Then, in 2008, he was part of the West Brom side that were beaten by eventual winners Portsmouth.

He hopes the excitement of the match is not too much for his wife, Caroline. At the end of May she is due to give birth to their fourth child.

Robinson said: "My best hope given my wife's situation is we don't go into extra time and penalties. Luckily for me, she will have family are all around her, so she'll be in good hands."

Meanwhile, Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, has been looking to the class of 1972 and hopes their unexpected success will rub off on the current crop of players.

That team became part of local folklore by lifting the League Cup - Stoke's last major trophy - thanks to beating hot favourites Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley.

Pulis took time out this week to visit Terry Conroy, scorer of the first goal against Chelsea, as he is recovering from a vascular aneurysm. Pulis, in his second spell at the club, said: "I went round to see Terry as he has been brilliant since I first came here and we wish him well.

"A lot of the lads pop in [to the training ground]. Banksy [Gordon Banks], Denis Smith, Jimmy Greenhoff, Mike Pejic. If they want to come in for a cup of tea, have a bit of lunch and watch us train, they don't have to ring up. It is lovely to see people who still care for this club."

7pm, Aljazeera Sport +3