Owen Coyle urges Bolton to keep showing guts

Coyle tells players to keep showing their will to survive ahead of Sunderland test

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 27 April 2012

Bolton boss Owen Coyle has urged his players to continue defying the critics who persist in writing off his team by again showing their 'guts and desire'.

Tuesday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa has further fuelled hope the club can stave off relegation to the npower Championship, a threat that has been hanging over them virtually all campaign.

Coyle's side have taken 13 points from their last seven matches, in contrast to just 20 from the previous 27 games, to leave them a point adrift of safety and with a match in hand.

Spirit: Owen Coyle wants his Bolton players to keep showing their guts

Spirit: Owen Coyle wants his Bolton players to keep showing their guts

Their fate is again in their own hands ahead of Saturday's trip to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light where another chance beckons for Bolton to hit back at the doubters.

'When QPR picked up a big result at the weekend against Tottenham (winning 1-0), all of a sudden there was a four-point gap to us and people again wanted to write us off,' said Coyle.

'We've become accustomed to that, so what we will do is look to keep on showing people they're getting it wrong.

'We've done that in the last two games, going a goal behind in each, only to take a point against Swansea and beat Aston Villa.

'If my players didn't have belief and trust in each other then they would have felt sorry for themselves and crumbled.

'But they picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and came roaring back in both games, culminating in us taking four points from the two matches.

'Against Swansea and Villa we showed real guts and desire to push on and win the game, and that's what we need in the final four games.'

Bolton's current run is just one small part of an unpredictable end to the Premier League season in which relegation rivals QPR and, especially, Wigan have conjured some remarkable results.

Assessing the situation, Coyle added: 'The teams around us have picked up some huge results a lot of people did not expect, which has not benefitted us.

Running hot: Martin Petrov (right) is in good form

Running hot: Martin Petrov (right) is in good form

'What we've simply done is earn the results we felt were there to be gained.

'Obviously, sometimes games look more winnable than others, but at this stage of the season that theory goes out of the window and it is everybody for themselves.

'But I've never doubted what we have here. We know and understand the reasons why we had a slow start, with a lot of uncontrollable things that went against us.

'It's been a freak season for us in terms of injuries and all the other things that have come about, but it's happened and we've had to deal with that.

'And we are still the same grounded people as last season when we were getting a lot of plaudits, and that is what will see us through to the end.'

Bolton head to a Sunderland side that have fallen by the wayside of late following manager Martin O'Neill's stunning start to his reign in early December.

Big win: Victory over Aston Villa has dragged the Midlands side back into the relegation battle

Big win: Victory over Aston Villa has dragged the Midlands side back into the relegation battle

The Black Cats are without a victory in their last six matches, yet Coyle is full of admiration for the job O'Neill has done.

'Martin is an outstanding manager, somebody I have a lot of time for,' said Coyle.

'There is no doubt he has done a magnficent job up until this point, and will continue to do so because he will put his own stamp on things in the summer.

'If he is given the financial backing, as I expect he will be, and he has a good eye for a player, then Sunderland will go from strength to strength.

'They're a huge club, the stadium is magnificent, the fans come and support the team and we know it will be a tough game, but one in which we'll be really positive and try to win.'

Coyle, though, again has a number of injury doubts, notably in midfield with Chris Eagles, Mark Davies, Darren Pratley and Ryo Miyaichi all doubts.