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Bolton boss backs Muamba to ignore critics over McCarthy challenge

Owen Coyle is confident Fabrice Muamba will forget the controversy surrounding his challenge on Wigan's James McCarthy. The 22-year-old has found himself in the spotlight for an attempt to win the ball in last Saturday's 1-1 draw at the DW Stadium that certainly lacked timing, although many agree was far from over the top.

Rising Scottish star McCarthy, however, sustained serious ankle ligament damage which means he is unlikely to return until sometime late in January, a situation boss Roberto Martinez has claimed to be "a footballing crime".

"Everybody knows the tackle wasn't malicious," said Coyle.

"Fabrice is a great kid. He's a very good player, and he'll be focused on doing his job for Bolton, it's as simple as that.

"Honestly, he is such a lovely kid, and he was genuinely disappointed and hurt by the fact young James was injured.

"I knew James as a young kid growing up in Glasgow, and he'll go on to have a glittering career.

"It's such a shame he is injured, but Fabrice went to win the ball, and unfortunately James has picked up an injury on the back of that.

"But that's the nature of the competition we play in. There are always going to be talking points, and obviously right now tackling and injuries are the main focus.

"You just have to deal with that the best you can."

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