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Coyle to lead thanks to Spurs fans
Bolton manager Owen Coyle will lead the thanks to Tottenham for their impeccable behaviour after Fabrice Muamba's cardiac arrest when the two sides play their re-arranged FA Cup quarter-final at White Hart Lane tonight.
More positive news on Muamba's recovery at the London Chest Hospital means Bolton's players should approach the game with a reduced amount of the tension that might have been expected on a return to the ground where they endured such horrors 10 days ago. But, keen as he is to win, Coyle will not forget the instant reaction from the stands.
He said: "We are engrossed in this football world. When events like that transpire, you think 'hold on a minute' and get a different perspective. Tottenham is going to be another very emotional night. But it gives both teams an opportunity to thank both wonderful sets of fans for their reaction to what happened and the aftermath."
Coyle added: "We all expected the Bolton fans to shout for Fabrice to recover. But the Tottenham fans seemed to get a sixth sense with the exact same response.
"There was a real sense of unity. Fabrice's family felt the energy and I have no doubt that has played a part in his recovery."
Both teams' shirts will be auctioned off after the game to raise money for the London Chest Hospital.
And whilst there will be no opportunity to watch the action on Match of the Day, as Muamba did on Sunday to see Bolton beat Blackburn and the tributes in his honour, he will have a brief meeting with a small delegation from the Lancashire club, including Coyle, chairman Phil Gartside and a couple of players.
Such visits are crucial, according to the Bolton boss, for the morale within his squad.
"Everyone would want to be there but that would be impossible," said Coyle.
"Fabrice's recovery is paramount but the players who do go can filter back the news. That will help. Fabrice is not just a team-mate and a colleague. He is a dear friend to those lads. They want to know he is getting better."
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