Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba 'talking' and showing 'small signs of improvement'


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The Independent Football

Fabrice Muamba, the Bolton midfielder who collapsed on the field during his side's FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham, is showing signs of improvement.

In a joint statement with Bolton Wanderers the hospital said Muamba was showing "small signs of improvement". His heart is beating without the help of medication and he is also moving his arms and legs.

The Associate Press have also quoted a friend of the Bolton star as saying Muamba has started talking again.

Curtis Codrington, who has been visiting Muamba in intensive care since the player collapsed 48-hours ago, told the AP that his friend has spoken "minimal words in English and French, which is better than nothing."

The latest update on Muamba's condition appears to be an improvement on the prognosis made earlier today but this afternoon's statement cautions that "his long-term prognosis will remain unclear for some time. He is still critically ill."

Muamba collapsed towards the end of the first half in the match at White Hart Lane. He was treated for six minutes on the pitch where attempts were made to resuscitate the 23-year-old. He was then taken by ambulance to the London Chest Hospital, where his heart was successfully restarted. The match was abandoned.

Bolton's scheduled match with Aston Villa tomorrow night has been postponed while their match against relegation rivals Blackburn on Saturday could also be put back, although no decision has yet been made.

"Whatever we have to do we would only respect what Bolton want us to do next weekend," said Blackburn manager Steve Kean.

He continued, "We hope he makes a full recovery but if they need a little bit more time and the game doesn't go ahead then we would respect that from Bolton's point of view."

Bolton's reserve side were due to take on West Brom on Wednesday, but the game has been called off.

"Football is a close-knit community and everyone at West Bromwich Albion was shocked and saddened to witness the scenes at White Hart Lane," a statement from West Brom read. "All our thoughts and prayers are with Fabrice."

It was announced earlier that Tottenham's match against Stoke on Wednesday will go ahead.

Bolton club captain Kevin Davies, who spoke publicly for the first time today, says Bolton's upcoming fixtures, and the re-arrangement of the FA Cup tie with Spurs are not at the forefront of his mind at the time.

"Any of those questions are irrelevant at the minute," he said.

Bolton's players had a team meeting at their Euxton training complex this morning to be given the latest bulletin on Muamba's condition.

Davies said: "It was optional to come into training today and decisions will have to be made but my immediate thoughts are with Fabrice and his family.

"The club will take a stance on it in the next couple of days. But at the minute we want to just try and help Fabrice."

Bolton manager Owen Coyle earlier spoke of Muamba's "brave fight" and told how the family of the player had been inundated with messages of support following his collapse on Saturday.

"The message is the good will, the prayers from everybody, they are so thankful and they want to put that on record - to say 'keep up the prayers, thanks for all the support,"' he said.

"They have been inundated as we all have, both in the football community globally and family and friends. People are taking a genuine interest and a real concern with how Fabrice is doing."

Coyle was speaking outside the London Chest Hospital where the 23-year-old player is being treated.

"We all know he's such a wonderful lad, he's a young man and we all hope that will help in this brave fight which he is undergoing at the moment," Coyle continued.

"It's a difficult situation but the family are bearing up as well as they can. They themselves are very positive people.

"You look at what Fabrice has been through in life already and you can tell that he is a fighter.

"He has such a fantastic smile and that's what we all want to see again."