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Coyle grateful for Muamba support

Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle thanked the football community for its support as Fabrice Muamba continued to fight for his life after suffering a cardiac arrest.

• Muamba in 'critical condition'

Muamba, 23, remains in a critical condition at London's Chest Hospital where he is in intensive care after collapsing during Bolton's FA Cup tie against Tottenham on Saturday.

"We certainly hope that he comes through," Coyle said. "From our end, and on behalf of the family, we certainly want to say thanks to everybody. Everybody is praying for Fabrice which is very important and that has been a real source of strength to the family.

"We know it's such a difficult time for everybody involved, our thoughts are with Fabrice's family. We certainly hope he comes through this. It's great to be talented at football but it is more important to be a genuinely nice man and Fabrice is that.

"Our concern is Fabrice and Fabrice only and that's what all our energy is going into - hopefully a happy outcome."

Trotters chairman Phil Gartside added: "The support that we had yesterday from Tottenham and our own fans was fantastic - the staff, the fans, the players and the officials at the game - it was unbelievable. We have had so many messages of support from around the world."

Meanwhile, reports on Monday suggest Bolton are considering pulling out of the FA Cup in the wake of the incident of White Hart Lane. Bolton's scheduled trip to Aston Villa on Tuesday has already been postponed, and reports claim Wanderers could withdraw from the competition rather than face a rematch at White Hart Lane.

One source was quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror: "This is a group of young men, just kids really. How could they cope with going through it all again?"

Tottenham defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto, 27, spoke on Monday of his shock at the incident, which reminded him of the game in which fellow Cameroonian Marc-Vivien Foe died in 2003 after collapsing on the pitch during a game in France.

"Saturday was one of those days that will stay with me forever,'' Assou-Ekotto wrote in his London Evening Standard column.

"When I saw him lying on the pitch at White Hart Lane, I was scared. Scared for him, scared for his family, his friends and all those people who know him and who care about him.

"I was also scared because he was just like me. He is young, supposedly fit - an athlete - who a few seconds ago was running up and down the same pitch as me. I had flashbacks of what had happened to my countryman, the late Marc-Vivien Foe.

"You want to stop these thoughts but the pictures keep coming into your head and I must say I was scared. Scared as I wondered how it could all just end like that for a young man? I could see the same questions in the eyes of my team-mates, the Bolton players, our bosses and their colleagues.''


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