Stressed over Muamba
Bolton manager Owen Coyle admits his players will find it hard to put Fabrice Muamba out of their minds when they return to action for the first time since the midfielder's harrowing collapse.sports Updated: Mar 23, 2012 01:07 IST
Bolton manager Owen Coyle admits his players will find it hard to put Fabrice Muamba out of their minds when they return to action for the first time since the midfielder's harrowing collapse.
Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest during Bolton's FA Cup quarter-final at Tottenham last Saturday that left the 23-year-old fighting for his life.
The former Arsenal player has shown ncouraging signs of making a miraculous ecovery, but is still in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital.
Many of his Bolton team-mates visited Kinshasa-born Muamba earlier this week and Coyle concedes the squad is still coming to terms with the shocking incident.
But after speaking to Muamba's family, Coyle and his players agreed to carry on with their season, starting with Saturday's Premier League game against Blackburn at what is sure to be an emotional Reebok Stadium.
"You don't move on. We have a game to play and we have to go and play it," Coyle said.
"Will it be difficult? Absolutely. Our thoughts are still with Fabrice Muamba."
Blackburn's visit to the Reebok is a crucial fixture for Bolton as they try to climb out of the relegation zone, yet Coyle has told his players that they will be excused from duty if they can't concentrate on football while Muamba is still in hospital.
"I wouldn't ask anybody to play who felt they couldn't," he said. "So far, no-one has told me they don't want to be involved.
"There comes a point that we have to play our games and move forward."
Muamba's horrific ordeal has touched the football world and a host of Premier League stars have visited the player in hospital, with New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry reported to have flown from America to see his former Arsenal team-mate.