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Coyle: Too early to say if Muamba will play again

The Bolton manager says that a decision cannot be made yet, but the midfielder is making good progress after he made an emotional return to the Reebok Stadium on Wednesday night

Bolton boss Owen Coyle admitted that it is too early to say if Fabrice Muamba will ever play football again despite the 24-year-old's remarkable recovery from a cardiac arrest.

Coyle was speaking after Muamba had greeted fans at the Reebok Stadium before his side's 4-1 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. The game marked the first time that the midfielder has attended a match since his collapse at White Hart Lane during the FA Cup tie between the two sides in March.

Muamba's recovery has been nothing short of remarkable, but although Coyle was delighted to see the England Under-21 international at the game, he refused to be drawn on whether the former Arsenal man would ever play again.

"To see Fabrice here tonight was fantastic," Coyle told reporters. "It was great to see everyone see how well he has recovered.

"We all know what is important to us, our health and families, we shouldn’t forget that.

"He had been in the player’s lounge, so there were obviously smiles on their faces when they saw how well he was doing.

"He’s not just a team-mate, but a close friend because of his character and personality he has. All the staff got to see him, so it was pleasing in that respect.

"I think it is still too early to say [whether he will play again], but his progress has been good in that direction. But again that is something we will be in consultation with the medical people about. But it is far too early to answer that."

Coyle admitted that his side shot themselves in the foot against Harry Redknapp's team, but insists that their fate remains is in our their own hands in spite of the defeat.
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He continued: "We were more than right in it. We were on top. My disappointment has been self inflicted.

"As good as the Tottenham players are, the wonderful strike was from a corner that should never have been given.

"There were a few pivotal moments in the match and we felt we probably let ourselves down a little in those moment, but we know we have enough to win the two games.

"There were a lot of positives to take, no doubt, in terms of getting into a team who are aspiring for champions league football.

"We made them look second best for periods of that game. It’s not a particularly nice feeling, but we have to dust ourselves down. We have two huge games to decide our own fate."

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