Bolton boss Owen Coyle wary of Gareth Bale threat in FA Cup quarter-final


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The Independent Football

Owen Coyle is keeping his fingers crossed that Gareth Bale has an off day tomorrow when Tottenham host Bolton in the FA Cup quarter-final.

The Bolton manager says he has enjoyed watching the Wales international blossom into one of the best players in the world and knows Bale could have a big say in whether Wanderers make it to a second consecutive FA Cup semi-final.

Coyle said: "Gareth Bale is an incredible player and that's why he is coveted by the top clubs in the world - they would all love to have him in their team.

"Tottenham invested in him as a young player and have been very shrewd in that, he's very exciting and a player I personally love watching every weekend.

"I just hope he's not at his best on Saturday but there is no doubt he is a terrific player who can pop up in so many different positions on the pitch.

"When he's at the top of his game he is one of the world's best players."

Coyle regards Harry Redknapp's side as outright favourites for the trophy despite Chelsea and Liverpool also still remaining in the competition.

He added: "I think they are the favourites for the FA Cup, this is a club that has carried all before them this year. We are going to have to be at our very best.

"They have an elite squad of players, they could play two different teams from week to week and they would still be outstanding top-quality international players."

Bolton enjoyed the rub of the green against QPR last week when Mark Hughes' side were denied a goal despite the ball clearly crossing the line. Wanderers went on to win 2-1, and rise out of the bottom three in the league table, but Coyle denied that luck was on their side at a pivotal moment of their campaign.

He said: "Not at all - in fact we were disappointed by our bad luck with QPR's equaliser being an offside goal. We were also disappointed that the corner was given that led to the goal that QPR never got because it wasn't a corner to begin with.

"It happened to ourselves early this season when Kevin Davies scored against Chelsea at home, it was clearly over the line but wasn't given."

Chris Eagles is a doubt against Tottenham after suffering a hamstring injury last weekend. England Under-21 striker Marvin Sordell is cup-tied, but Spanish defender Marcos Alonso is in contention for his first game in three months after coming through two reserves games.

Meanwhile, defender Sam Ricketts is desperate to make it to another Wembley semi-final after the disappointment of last season's 5-0 hammering by Stoke.

Ricketts said: "It's a huge opportunity to get to Wembley and a huge incentive to right a few wrongs that happened last year.

"We've done really in the FA Cup over the last couple of years. We were obviously disappointed to lose in the semi-final last year in the manner we did but we've got the chance to get back to Wembley on Saturday, albeit we won't be the favourites.

"As players these opportunities don't come around too often to play on such a big stage so it's something we'll be relishing and desperately trying to achieve."