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Fulham-Bolton Wanderers Preview
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Bolton boss Owen Coyle will lead his side against Fulham at The Reebok on Saturday just a couple of days after being been named Barclays Premier League manager of the month for March.
He guided Bolton to three straight league victories in recent weeks but those wins were overshadowed by the collapse on the field of midfielder Fabric Muamba during an FA Cup match at Tottenham on March 17. Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest and was technically "dead" for 78 minutes after collapsing at White Hart Lane.
Muamba has since been making steady progress and although he remains in intensive care in hospital, it was reported on Thursday that the England under-21 international had started to walk again.
"We have moved in the right direction and we have to keep it going," said Coyle. "We would like to win the award again for April because it would mean we are continuing to progress.
"We have given ourselves a platform and now have an opportunity to go and win the matches and points that will see us remain in the Premier League."
Bolton started March with a 2-0 defeat at title-chasing Manchester City before beating Queens Park Rangers 2-1 on March 10. Further victories against Blackburn (2-1) and Wolverhampton (3-2) saw the Trotters move up to 16th place on 28 points. Bolton also have a game in hand over all four clubs below them in the table.
Coyle meanwhile has ruled out a return this season for injured United States international Stuart Holden, who has been sidelined with a long-term knee injury.
"We are hoping that Stuart will be available for the first day of pre-season training, ready to make that impact that he already has again next year," said Coyle. "He is such a bubbly and infectious character, we have missed him, but he won't be fit for this season."
Fulham, who are in 10th place on 39 points from 31 matches, ended a streak of three straight defeats when they beat Norwich 2-1 at Craven Cottage last weekend, with goals from Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff.
United States international Dempsey's opener against Norwich was his 19th goal of the season in all competitions.
Dempsey was also on target when Fulham beat Bolton 2-0 in this season's reverse league fixture at Craven Cottage on December 17. Bryan Ruiz hit a second goal for the Cottagers.
Fulham will again be without injured Andy Johnson for the trip the The Reebok, while fellow striker Pavel Pogrebnyak faces a fitness test on Friday.
"Johnson has a problem with his thigh and that will take another two weeks," said Fulham manager Martin Jol.
"Last week I thought he was on the fringe of joining the squad but he couldn't, and he will be out for at least the next few weeks.
"Pavel is struggling but we will do a test tomorrow, so hopefully at the very least he will play against Chelsea and hopefully against Bolton.
"It will be a 50-50 situation. When he started a couple of months ago he had the same in his first game but he played on.
"He twisted his ankle again in a block tackle against Norwich so it's an old injury because it probably didn't heal 100%."
Updated April 6, 2012