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Bolton V Blackburn at Reebok Stadium : Match Preview
Published : 24 Mar 2012 08:36:02
Owen Coyle recalls `surreal' events following Muamba collapse.
The Bolton manager has admitted how helpless he felt as he watched medical staff battle to save Fabrice Muamba's life following the midfielder's cardiac arrest at Tottenham last week.
Coyle earned huge praise for the dignity with which he dealt with such a traumatic situation. Yet the Scot acknowledged his instinct was just to wrap his arms around someone he feels so protective of. "When I came on the pitch, all I wanted to do was pick Fabrice up and put him back on his feet," said Coyle. "It was difficult to see that happening to someone you know dearly. People deal with it in different ways and I suppose you have an in-built mechanism that kicks in. "But, looking back, the first few days were surreal." On Sunday, as the extent of the treatment Muamba had undergone just to keep him alive became known, it seemed impossible that Bolton would be playing within a week. That they will face Blackburn is a testament to the progress Muamba has made.
However, Coyle accepts keeping emotions in check at the Reebok Stadium might be difficult. "No one has said that they don't want to play but that may change in the next couple of days because it is going to be difficult," said Coyle. "I had a collective chat with the group and outlined everything that happened, so there was a clear picture. "One or two asked questions and if anyone feels it is too much for them, there would be no problem. They just have to let us know. We would do the right thing by them."
Muamba's remarkable progress means the meeting between Bolton and Blackburn can be a positive occasion, according to Rovers boss Steve Kean. Kean said: "It's always easier (to concentrate on the game) when the boy's making progress. If it had gone a negative way and we didn't know whether the game was on and then all of a sudden it could have been on at the last minute, it might have been difficult. "But the fact he's getting stronger, he's communicating, I believe he's even joking and he can recognise everybody, then I think everybody goes into it in a positive mindset. It's great that he's getting there and we need to get on with the game.
"We contacted Bolton and I left a message for their chairman and spoke with Owen. "Any way at all that we could help Fabrice or their other players, if they didn't think they had enough preparation because of the situation we were happy to postpone the game. "The way it's gone now, he's made great progress, which we're all delighted about, and the game's on. Now we need to get on with business and try to put more points on the board on a very emotional day." Gael Givet is Rovers' only doubt after aggravating a slight hamstring problem warming up during Tuesday's win over Sunderland, and Kean may well stick with the same side for a third successive game.
He said: "The way we're playing at the moment it's difficult for anyone to push their way into the side, and such is the strength of the squad at the moment that Ruben Rochina and Simon Vukcevic have not even managed to get themselves onto the bench. That's great from our point of view, not so good from theirs."
Bolton V Blackburn - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.