Bolton players having 'flashbacks' to Muamba collapse as return to Spurs looms
21:55 GMT, 25 March 2012
Bolton will return to the scene of Fabrice Muamba's collapse on Tuesday with several players complaining of flashbacks to the traumatic events at White Hart Lane nine days ago.
Manager Owen Coyle will consider how best to guide his team through the ordeal as they prepare for the rescheduled FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham. The tie was abandoned after Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch.
The 23-year-old has since made a remarkable recovery although he remains in intensive care in a stable condition.
Pause for thought: A fans adds to the tributes to Fabrice Muamba at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday
Bolton defender Sam Ricketts revealed that, as well as suffering flashbacks, the emotional highs and lows of the past week had led to some players falling ill.
'There were a few lads who, when they were asleep, had flashbacks to certain things they'd seen on Saturday,' said Ricketts after Bolton returned to action with a win at home to relegation rivals Blackburn.
'It's been such an emotional drain. What it can do to your body being so low and then coming out to such a high, a couple of the lads have been ill coming in to this game with relief that Fab was better again.
'In the early part of the week until we knew how well Fab was doing, no one wanted to play football.
'But with the fantastic progress he's making, it would be fantastic if we can get back to Wembley and he can come back with us.'
Well wishers: Football continues to send messages to Muamba, such as this banner at St Andrew's on Sunday
Midfielder Darren Pratley was one of the worst affected by the trauma of seeing medics battling to restart Muamba's heart on the pitch. It stopped beating for a total of 78 minutes even though he received 15 electric shocks from a defibrillator.
Pratley said: 'I don't think you do sleep when something like that happens to one of your close mates. We saw him every day and then in effect he was dead on the pitch.
'It's been the hardest week of my life, being so close to where it happened and seeing everything go on. It's been hard sleeping. When you see that close up it's not nice.
'You lose track of the days. On Wednesday or Thursday we were in and didn't really know what day it was.
'Going back there (to Tottenham) will be tough I would think, but Fabrice is on the mend and that's the main thing.'
United: Bolton fans showed their support for the stricken midfielder at the Reebok Stadium
After seeing his side beat Blackburn 2-1, Coyle said he would sit down and decide how to handle the sensitive issues surrounding the game.
The Bolton boss also insisted that the wishes of Muamba's fiance Shauna and father Marcel would be paramount when determining who visits the player at the London Chest Hospital.
'I can't tell you how we will cope with going back until we get there,' said Coyle. 'Will it be emotional Absolutely. I'll go home tonight and have a wee Irn Bru and then sit down and think about how we're going to deal with that.
Team spirit: Bolton players warmed up for the game against Blackburn in shirts bearing Muamba's name
'That (a hospital visit) is something we'll look at. The bottom line is we'll see what the family request.
'If it meant that some of the players get in to see him then great. If it meant there's none, that will be the family's decision.
'If they felt it was something that would give him a huge boost, then to a man we'd sleep in the hospital if it would make him better quicker.'