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Trotters' boss reveals midfielder is still in a critical condition after cardiac arrest on the pitch but praised messages of support he has received from around the world

Bolton manager Owen Coyle has expressed his thanks for the outpouring of support for critically-ill midfielder Fabrice Muamba and described the 23-year-old as ‘part of the family’.

Muamba is currently in a stable condition at the London Chest Hospital after being taken there on Saturday when he collapsed on the pitch during the FA Cup quarter-final with Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Well-wishers from around the globe including ex-England captain David Beckham have sent message of support to Muamba’s family and Coyle admitted that shows the esteem the former Arsenal and Birmingham player is held in by the football community.

“Fabrice’s family want to say thanks for all the prayers and to ask everyone keep up the support,” said Coyle.

“They have been inundated with messages from the football community and around the world. We all know that he is such a wonderful lad and we hope that this will help in the brave fight he is in at the moment.

"Fabrice is a genuinely nice person, a humble person and the support we have had from so many different clubs have shown that. It’s so humbling to have that level of support and we’re hopeful of a positive outcome.”

Coyle added: “When you look at what he has been through in his life already, he ‘s a natural fighter and a physically fit young man. If those two things can help at all then that will be a source of help and encouragement. We have always stressed that we are a family club at Bolton and Fabrice is part of that family.”

Bolton’s clash with Aston Villa on Tuesday has already been postponed by the Premier League on compassionate grounds. And Coyle admitted that some of his players have been badly affected by the incident would not have been in a fit mental state to play in the match.

“They are distressed because of what Fabrice means to them as a human being,” he said.

“We all love football but that pales into insignificance in moments like this. Their concern is for Fabrice as a friend and there was no way that the game could have been played. Everyone’s thoughts and concerns are with Fabrice and his family.”

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