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Injuries concern Coyle ahead of Sunderland clash
Published : 27 Apr 2012 01:17:04Rss feed
Owen Coyle believes Bolton Wanderers are being hampered by a lengthy injury list after challenging his relegation-threatened side to win their remaining four "cup finals".
Third-bottom Bolton travel to Sunderland on Saturday knowing a win will lift them out of the Premier League relegation zone as the season reaches its climax.
"The treatment room's been busy," said Bolton manager Coyle as he counted the cost of a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa.
Reticent to identify all of his walking wounded so not to hand Sunderland any kind of advantage, he urged his squad to play through the pain barrier, and added: "We had six in for treatment yesterday (Wednesday) who had taken a knock the night before.
"We'll give them until the last minute to be patched up and get out there again to do their best. We need players to play through the pain barrier.
"We have four games left -- every one of them a cup final," Coyle added. "We need to take them one at a time. We know it's always in our hands. We now have to carry on when we go to Sunderland. We believe there are points in every one of those games."
With fifth-bottom QPR not in action until they play Chelsea on Sunday, Bolton have a chance to climb out of the bottom three for at least 24 hours -- and possibly longer depending on the outcome of Wigan's meeting with Newcastle.
Bolton have taken four points from their last two games, and six from their three most recent road trips to give them renewed hope of avoiding the drop.
They are currently a point from safety, and Coyle added: "In the last two games we've gone behind, but we've shown the character, determination and quality to come back. We're all in this together and Sunderland is another absolutely must-win game.
"I'm not interested in other teams' run-ins. I've always been confident with what we've got at Bolton Wanderers. There are enough points in the games we've got left. We have players with ability but we have to deliver at the business end of the season."
Bolton face a Sunderland side for whom John O'Shea admits the season in danger of fizzling out.
The Black Cats were eighth in the table three weeks ago, but have slumped into the bottom half after failing to find the net for seven hours as part of a six-game winless streak.
The Wearside club are running out of time to better last season's 10th place finish, and after just two wins in the last 11 games, Republic of Ireland defender O'Shea admits things must improve in the quest to seal a top half spot.
"We're letting the season tail-off and we've got to make sure we finish off as strongly as we can," the 31-year-old said.
"The Premier League is an unforgiving division. You can be in eighth and then two weeks later you could be in 14th. You want to make sure you're in that top half of the table."
Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner is suspended after his sending off in last week's stalemate at Villa, while Seb Larsson and defender Kieran Richardson are out for the final three games after both underwent hernia surgery.
Sweden international Larsson is, however, confident of being fit for the European Championship finals in June.