Coyle wants Cup success to kick-start league campaign


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The Independent Football

Bolton manager Owen Coyle believes his side's 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Swansea on Saturday can provide an extra fillip to their Premier League form. Bolton, last year's semi-finalists, progressed to the last 16 with a well-earned win courtesy of goals from Darren Pratley and Chris Eagles which cancelled out Luke Moore's first-half opener for Swansea.

"We were excellent," said Coyle, whose side sit one point clear of the top-flight relegation zone and host Arsenal in the League on Wednesday. "It can only give us impetus and confidence to win games [in the League]."

Coyle, though, did suggest Bolton could play with more conviction in the future. "Swansea had a chance late on but with all due respect, the game should have been dead and buried long before that," Coyle added. "We played well and created a lot of chances, but should have scored more goals than we did. Aside from all the positives, one thing we would have loved is to be more clinical."

Ian Holloway, meanwhile, lavished praise on Keith Southern after watching his stand-in captain help Blackpool claim a 1-1 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday, just two months after having a tumour removed from one of his testicles.

Southern, 30, played his first match since November as the hosts drew courtesy of Kevin Phillips' late penalty, after Gary Taylor-Fletcher had been brought down, which levelled an effort by Clinton Morrison, who scored while Southern was lying injured with a gash on his ankle. "I gave him the captaincy because he thoroughly deserves it, and now he's gone and got another cut. I've never seen a gash like it, it's a great big hole. It was quite a nasty tackle. He didn't realise how bad it was, he didn't even want treatment," Holloway said. "I've never known a bloke mentally as strong as him."

Elsewhere, Birmingham manager Chris Hughton singled out Adam Rooney for praise after the forward's two goals helped his side defeat Sheffield United 4-0.

"Rooney does what he does best," enthused Hughton of the player, whose two goals either side of half-time helped Birmingham prevail. "If the ball goes into the box, he'll always be there. He appreciates at times that he's got to be patient. I'm really pleased with him."

Hughton said the manner of the victory bodes well for his side's chances in their upcoming fixtures.

"[United] were certainly a threat but then we got into our rhythm and the timing of our goals was important," Hughton said. "We're enjoying playing football and that breeds a certain amount of confidence."

Nigel Adkins expressed pleasure at seeing his Southampton side withstand pressure from Millwall to come away with a 1-1 draw at the Den, despite Darius Henderson's goal with four minutes left preventing the visitors from prevailing after Rickie Lambert had struck early.

"It was a really good cup tie and we look forward to the replay at our place," Adkins reflected. "There were waves of pressure coming in from Millwall but I thought Lambert scored a great goal. It was a great run and he was waiting for the space to open.

"We gave our younger players a chance and we have players who have been out injured for a long time who are close to coming back to fitness. We are high in the league but you always want to do well in the FA Cup."

Martin Allen, the Notts County manager, felt his team should not have lost 1-0 at fellow League One side Stevenage Borough.

It was Gary Smith's first game in charge of Stevenage and his team won courtesy of a 12th-minute own goal from County's Damion Stewart.

"We were very average in the first half and in the second half we were absolutely superb, we dominated the game," Allen said. "[But] they're a very powerful, hard-working, honest team."