Tottenham favourites for FA Cup says Bolton manager Owen Coyle
Thursday 15 March 2012
Bolton boss Owen Coyle claims Saturday's opponents Tottenham are the favourites to win the FA Cup despite a recent slump.
Coyle has rejected any suggestion that Spurs may have been suffering from distractions due to the speculation over Harry Redknapp and the England manager's job - and insists Tottenham, who have lost their last three Premier League matches, have just been unlucky.
A place in the semi-finals is at stake for whoever emerges triumphant from the Saturday team-time clash at White Hart Lane, and Coyle says Bolton could not have had a tougher draw.
Asked if he went along with the view that Spurs may have suffered from distractions over Redknapp, Coyle said: "No I don't. If you analyse the performances - as we do because we are playing against them - you realise that Tottenham have been playing at a very high level.
"People are talking about how Spurs' recent results haven't been great but you have to look further than that. Their performances recently have been of a very high standard but they haven't carried that little bit of luck.
"Tottenham against Manchester United were outstanding and at Goodison on Saturday there were spells when it was like the Alamo when they looking to get the equaliser.
"So this is a quality side led by a fantastic manager and we are going to have to be at our best.
"I don't think there is ever a good time to play Tottenham especially away from home, but we will go there and be fresh and energetic and try to get to the semi-finals.
"I think they are the favourites for the FA Cup, this is a club that has carried all before them this year."
Coyle admits his priority for Bolton is to stay in the top flight - an aim boosted by a win in the capital last week against QPR - but that will not stop him doing everything in his power to achieve victory over Spurs and reach a second consecutive FA Cup semi-final. Bolton lost 5-0 to Stoke in the semi-finals last April.
Coyle added: "We are under no illusions - our priority is to remain in the Barclays Premier League. But within that, I also believe that we can continue to progress in the FA Cup.
"We have the toughest draw out of anybody left in the competition because Tottenham Hotspur are favourites.
"But we have an opportunity, like they have, to reach the last four of the best national cup competition in football.
"We have shown as a club that we love the FA Cup, through history and tradition. Even last year and as disappointing as the semi-final was, we loved that FA Cup run. We played some tough ties to get there and we have been given a few this season too."
Chris Eagles is a doubt for Bolton after picking up a hamstring injury last weekend and Marvin Sordell is cup-tied, but Marcos Alonso is in contention for his first senior game in three months after coming through two reserves matches.
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