Emotional night in store at the Lane

Fabrice Muamba, who is now able to get out of bed, will be focus when FA Cup tie is replayed

It will not be a normal FA Cup quarter-final at White Hart Lane tonight. Although Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers are competing for the right to play Chelsea in a Wembley semi-final – a very prestigious football prize indeed – the focus will be elsewhere.

Because there should not be a game taking place this evening. This is not a cup replay in the traditional sense. Rather, this is the restaging of the game from 10 days ago, which will always be marked in English football history following Fabrice Muamba's shocking collapse from a cardiac arrest.

Muamba remains in intensive care in hospital, where his condition is serious but stable. But his gradual recovery, given everyone's fears in the immediate aftermath, has been stirring.

"Muamba continues to make encouraging progress in his recovery," read a statement from Bolton Wanderers, Barts and the London NHS Trust yesterday. "Over the weekend, he has been able to sit out of bed for a short time, watch television and has begun to eat. However, he will need to continue to be closely monitored by the medical team at the London Chest Hospital for some time."

The Bolton manager, Owen Coyle, will visit Muamba before the game today, as will the club's chairman, Phil Gartside. "Everyone would want to be there but that would be impossible," said Coyle. "Fabrice's recovery is paramount but the players who do go can filter back the news. Fabrice is not just a team-mate and a colleague. He is a dear friend to those lads. They want to know he is getting better."

 

It will inevitably be an emotional evening at White Hart Lane. There will be one minute's applause for Muamba and players from either side will wear supportive Muamba T-shirts. Coyle said that only Muamba's recovery will allow the game to take place.

"Because Fabrice is getting better, that allows us to play the match," said the Bolton manager. "If it was different circumstances, it might be a different conversation. The great thing is that he is getting better. Will it be emotional? Of course. But I can't say how it is going to be until we are physically there."

On Saturday Bolton played their first game since Muamba's collapse, beating Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at the Reebok Stadium. It was an emotional afternoon, with an atmosphere marked by support for Muamba from both sets of supporters.

A similar atmosphere is likely tonight. During Tottenham's 1-1 draw with Stoke City last week some Spurs fans chanted Muamba's name, and all the fans at White Hart Lane are likely to unite behind a common cause this evening.

Coyle revealed that Muamba watched most of the highlights of Bolton's Saturday victory, and that he is aware of all the gestures made for him from across the football world. "For all of us who were there on the Saturday, to think he could sit up and watch Match of the Day a week later is remarkable," Coyle said. "I am led to believe he fell asleep when it was 2-0. I don't know if he still thinks we won 2-0 but it is so great to know that, bit by bit, he is getting better even if he still has a long way to go."

There have been T-shirt tributes staged at Barcelona and Real Madrid, and Thierry Henry wore a special captain's armband for New York Red Bulls this weekend with "Muamba" written on it.

"Over the last few days he has been able to take in more of the goodwill that globally he has been getting from people and the prayers and everything else," Coyle said. "He wanted to thank everybody for that support. We have to make sure we continue that but he is on his way to recovery. God willing that continues."

Probable teams

Spurs: CUDICINI, WALKER, KABOUL, GALLAS, ASSOU-EKOTTO, KRANJCAR, PARKER, MODRIC, BALE, SAHA, DEFOE

Bolton: BOGDAN, RICKETTS, KNIGHT REAM, ALONSO, PETROV, REO-COKER, M DAVIES, EAGLES, KLASNIC, NGOG

Tottenham v Bolton Tonight, 7.30pm (ESPN)

Referee H Webb (South Yorkshire)

Odds: Tottenham 3-10; Draw 9-2; Bolton 8-1.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed