Coyle: We are all astonished with Fabrice
Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle has admitted his players are going to find it difficult to keep their minds on the game when they take on Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. It will be the first time the Trotters have taken to the field since the harrowing events at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, when midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest that left him fighting for his life.
"You don't move on," Coyle said. "We have a game to play and we have to go and play it. Will it be difficult? Absolutely. Our thoughts are still with Fabrice Muamba."
Muamba is still in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital and was visited by a number of his team-mates on Tuesday. Coyle has told any of them who do not feel up to playing that they will be excused from this weekend's fixture.
"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."
Coyle had extensive conversations with Muamba's father Marcel and fiancee Shauna before he left London. And he was left in no doubt the family wanted Bolton to start playing again.
"I spoke to them for over an hour and they were adamant, Bolton had to play their games," said Coyle. "Everything does pale into insignificance alongside Fabrice's recovery. But we will go out there and do our best."
Coyle has earned enormous credit for the way he has handled himself throughout the trauma. However, he revealed he had not slept on Sunday night as Muamba faced the most important part of his recovery.
"Monday was a big day," said Coyle. "The hospital had cooled him down to try to help him, and on Monday morning at 8am they started to warm him back up again. That is when Fabrice had to kick in and do things of his own accord to have any chance.
"He did because we know the fighter he is and how strong he is. The way he came through that was incredible. Monday was an unbelievable day. We are all astonished with how far he has come.
"But we have to stress he is still in intensive care and he is still seriously ill. He has a long way to go. But what has happened is encouraging and we have to keep that in our thoughts"