Coyle backs Davies criticism of referee

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The Independent Football

Bolton manager Owen Coyle believes Kevin Davies was within his rights to criticise referee Mark Clattenburg.

The club captain claimed the official denied him a legitimate goal on Saturday because of "something personal".

Davies thought he had headed a late winner against Fulham at the Reebok Stadium only for Clattenburg to disallow his effort for a push on Brede Hangeland.

There are now concerns the FA could take action against Davies for his comments but Coyle hopes those fears are unfounded.

Ahead of tonight's match against Manchester City, Coyle said: "He certainly shouldn't be reprimanded.

"Kevin is a very honest player. He is a physical player, that's the way he plays the game. But he probably gets hit more than anyone else as well. You need a balance.

"He is a terrific captain and a terrific player, who scored a perfectly good goal. It is only right he feels aggrieved.

"If people are going to get into trouble for being honest, it is a sad day."

Coyle wants his team to maintain a mean streak during Gary Cahill's enforced absence.

The influential defender could miss the rest of the season after suffering a blood clot in his arm.

It is a devastating blow for Cahill, who was hoping to claim a place in England's World Cup squad.

Andy O'Brien looks certain retain to retain his place in the team, providing he shakes off a thigh problem, and partner Zat Knight at the back.

Coyle said: "You are always disappointed when you lose one of your best players. You want them available all the time.

"When they are not available you go with the ones you have and you look for them to do their best.

"The players wear that shirt with pride here and will give everything they can. I am sure this group do all in their power to win points for Bolton."

Coyle has promised that the level of care afforded to Cahill will be second to none.

"I don't think it is a sport-related injury, I think it is just one of those things that can happen to anyone at any given time, " said the Bolton boss.

"Gary will be disappointed as he has so much to play for. He is one of the best players at the club and he had a big role to play, no doubt about that.

"He also had a chance of going to the World Cup - but that chance will come again."