Daniel Sturridge maintained his hot streak as the Bolton striker sealed a 2-0 win over Everton at Reebok Stadium on Sunday.
Sturridge has been in superb form since his loan move from Chelsea during the transfer deadline and Everton were unable to stop the youngster netting his third goal in three games.
Owen Coyle’s team had taken the lead through Gary Cahill’s first-half header and Sturridge delivered the knockout blow with a fine finish as Bolton moved within one point of seventh placed Sunderland.
Coyle played down talk of signing Sturridge permanently, saying: “That’s a discussion for May. Chelsea certainly have some of the world’s finest strikers and Daniel, I believe, can really push himself into that category if he continues to develop.”
“I’m just delighted to be playing regular [soccer]. The manager’s instilled a lot of confidence in me, he’s told me to go out and play my normal game, and just show everybody what I’m about,” Sturridge said.
While Bolton are on the up, David Moyes’ team remain only three points above the drop zone.
Moyes conceded his side face a battle to avoid relegation.
“I have felt that since the third week of the season,” he said. “It’s probably the poorest performance I can remember for a long time. We conceded two bad goals, but overall we were really poor anyway and we never really got started.”
Everton had been told about Bolton’s ability from set-pieces, but they failed to learn the lesson as Coyle’s men took the lead in the 10th minute.
Stuart Holden’s free-kick picked out Gary Cahill and the defender powered down a header that deflected off Everton’s John Heitinga and past wrong-footed goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Everton should have equalized in the 17th minute when Tim Cahill was left unmarked at the back post, but he miscued his shot woefully wide.
Everton threatened at the start of the second half when Marouane Fellaini was set up by Seamus Coleman, but the midfielder sent his effort high and wide of the woodwork.
Bolton went further ahead in the 67th minute when South Korean Lee Chung-yong threaded a pass through to Sturridge, who smashed his shot beyond Howard.