Bolton look set to go ahead with their home game against Blackburn in the Premier League on Saturday and are also likely to play the re-arranged FA Cup match with Tottenham, probably next Tuesday. Everything has been on hold at the Reebok Stadium since Saturday evening, when Fabrice Muamba collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest at White Hart Lane.
Members of Bolton's squad visited their team-mate yesterday, along with their manager Owen Coyle, who has seen Muamba every day since his collapse. Coyle and his players returned north last night and the manager will take training today.
Although the belief is that Bolton will play the Cup fixture, Coyle said yesterday that focusing on either match had been impossible. "That's not something of great importance to me at this time," he said. "In the course of today, as we hope and pray that Fabrice continues to improve, that's something we will have to look at. The one concern we all have is for Fabrice only."
Medical staff at White Hart Lane and at the London Chest Hospital took two hours to get Muamba's heart working again but the 23-year-old has made huge improvements, to the point where he has been able to speak some words, in French and in English. However, further recovery may be a slow process.
The Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, said they were in regular contact with Bolton. "We'll take it on a daily basis," Scudamore said. "Clearly by Sunday lunchtime, we knew the players weren't going to be fit to want to play [against Aston Villa, a game scheduled for last night]. We'll just keep checking the situation."
A hospital statement issued yesterday morning said: "Fabrice Muamba has had a comfortable night in the intensive care unit at the London Chest Hospital, where the medical team is continuing to monitor his progress."
Coyle said: "It's very early in the process and the doctors have stressed that, so we all know what's involved. Fabrice still has a long way to go but it's encouraging and, while that is the case, it's positive. I was fortunate to see him and had a brief conversation. We have to understand it's early in his continued fight for improvement but we could never have envisaged the improvement Fabrice has made from Saturday."
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