Sports

Bolton face difficult return to pitch without Muamba

Manager Coyle said any player not feeling up to tomorrow’s match would be excused. — Reuters picManager Coyle said any player not feeling up to tomorrow’s match would be excused. — Reuters picLONDON, March 23 — Bolton Wanderers face a difficult return to the pitch tomorrow following Fabrice Muamba’s collapse and any player not feeling up to it will be excused, manager Owen Coyle has said.

The Premier league side host Blackburn Rovers in their first match since 23-year-old Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during last weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham Hotspur.

“I wouldn’t ask anybody to play in these circumstances if they weren’t in a position to do so,” Coyle was quoted as saying on Bolton’s website (www.bwfc.co.uk) on Thursday.

“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.”

Coyle said he had spoken to the midfielder’s family and they wanted the league match with Blackburn to go ahead as well as the Cup tie, which was abandoned at 1-1 just before halftime. It has been rescheduled for March 27.

“Spending the time I did with Fabrice’s father Marcel and his fiancée Shauna, they felt that Bolton Wanderers as a club had to go and play their games, and that’s what we’ll do,” Coyle added.

Coyle said Muamba had a steady night in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital, where the player has been since the incident.

Muamba is conscious and able to talk. Doctors said on Wednesday that his life was not in danger now. — Reuters