Tottenham Hotspur v Bolton Wanderers
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Sixth Round Proper
7.30pm, Tuesday 26 March 2012
White Hart Lane
Live on ESPN
Live TV broadcast fee - £212,000
Winning club will receive £360,000 from The FA prize fund
Owen Coyle is currently preparing his Bolton Wanderers side for a return to Tottenham just ten days after Trotters’ midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest on the White Hart Lane pitch during the two sides' FA Cup with Budweiser Sixth Round tie.
With the tie re-scheduled for Tuesday night, the Bolton boss says he does not know how his players will cope with what will understandably be a difficult occasion for everyone involved.
“I can’t tell you how we will cope with going back until we get there,” said Coyle after Bolton's 2-1 win over Blackburn at the weekend.
“It will be different, I accept that. As much as we felt ready to play [against Blackburn] until they cross that white line you don’t know how they are going to react.
“Tuesday night will be the same and I have to say that is for both teams. It might be doubly difficult, but I have to give balance to that. It’s a football pressure. You’ve got to know how to stand up and you do, but it is not a pressure of real life that Fabrice was under.”
Bolton confirmed on their website that Muamba’s condition continues to improve in the London Chest Hospital, but that he remains in a serious situation. The former England Under-21 captain was “deeply moved” by the mosaic on display at the Reebok Stadium before the Blackburn game and he has been “overwhelmed” by the support he has received from across the globe.
Coyle refused to confirm whether the Bolton squad would visit Muamba ahead of the Spurs game and that he would take his lead from Muamba’s family.
“That’s something we’ll look at,” he said, “but first and foremost it will be the family’s decision. Fabrice’s recovery and well being is paramount. If they felt it was something that would give him a huge boost, then to a man we’d sleep in the hospital if we felt it would make him better quicker.
“You can do all your training, all your coaching badges, but nothing prepares you for a week like the one we’ve just had,” he continued.
“I’ve always known that, in terms of spirit and camaraderie, we have a tight-knit group, but it’s always easy to say that when you’re winning games. You can have the best team spirit in the world then, but you find out much more about people in times of adversity, not just footballers but as men. In the past week it’s been seen to be the case.”
The winners of the tie will face Chelsea in the Semi-Final at Wembley on Sunday 15 April.