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Thursday 22 March 2012

Coyle admits playing will be tough

Bolton boss says it will be hard to focus on matches after Fabrice Muamba collapse

Owen Coyle says Bolton's main focus is still the recovery of midfielder Fabrice Muamba

Bolton manager Owen Coyle admits some of his Wanderers' players may find it hard to focus on football again after Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest.

The 23-year-old collapsed during Bolton's FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham on Saturday and after being treated on the pitch he has been recovering at the London Chest Hospital all week.

The Cup tie was abandoned after 41 minutes as a result of Muamba's collapse and Bolton's Barclays Premier League match at Aston Villa on Tuesday was postponed as the club concentrated on giving their support to the former England Under-21 international.

"We have a game to play this weekend but all our thoughts will remain with Fabrice"
- Owen Coyle

But the Trotters resume playing duties in their League match at home against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday 24th March, and Coyle says it might be a difficult occasion for some.

"We have a game to play this weekend but all our thoughts will remain with Fabrice," Coyle told the club's official website. "We have to go and play the match and do it to the best of our ability. Will it be difficult? Absolutely, it goes without saying.

"Spending the time I did with Fabrice's father Marcel and his fiancee Shauna, they felt that Bolton Wanderers as a club had to go and play their games, and that's what we will do.

"I spoke to the group on Wednesday because what we have to understand is that we all have different personalities and different natures. Some people are affected in different ways than others.

"I told them that with regards to Saturday's game, if there was anyone who wasn't up to going out and playing 90 minutes on a football pitch, they wouldn't play.

"I wouldn't ask anybody to play in these circumstances if they weren't in a position to do so. It will be a difficult game of football because all of our thoughts will remain with Fabrice.

"The players love Fabrice and whoever takes to the field at the weekend will be doing all they can for him and Bolton Wanderers."

Muamba remains in a serious condition in intensive care, where he had another steady night. But Coyle reiterated that his young midfielder still has a long way to go in his recovery.

He added: "Our focus has always been that, God willing, Fabrice can recover. Where we are now from that moment on Saturday evening, we are astonished.

"But within that it is extremely important we don't get too ahead of ourselves because we have to remember that Fabrice is still in intensive care and in a serious condition.

"The level of support that he has had has been incredible. I've got to say that it has been humbling at times and that has given the family a source of great strength and I've no doubt that has been transmitted to Fabrice."

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Key Points

  • Bolton will play on Saturday for first time since Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest
  • Boss Owen Coyle admits it might be difficult for some of his players to focus
  • Coyle says main concern still Muamba's wellbeing