Belfast Telegraph

Coyle welcomes selection dilemmas

Owen Coyle feels Bolton have finally reached a point this season where there is genuine competition within the squad for starting spots.

Wanderers have been hit by injuries to several key players this term and found themselves struggling near the bottom of the Barclays Premier League. The casualty list has begun to ease over the last few weeks, though, and manager Coyle has strengthened his group by bringing in three new signings during the January transfer window.

The team's results have improved, with only one loss being recorded in eight games in all competitions prior to last weekend's 2-0 league defeat at Norwich, and the Scot said: "I think it is the first time that we have had real competition for places."

He added: "We all know the injury list we have had and the quality within that injury list - we had probably five players who would be guaranteed to start in our team missing at the start of the season.

"Bit by bit we are getting one or two back. We still don't have Stuart Holden (knee) or Lee Chung-yong (broken leg), but we are getting one or two back, we have brought in some fresh faces in January - some young, exciting players - and when you add that to the mix, there is real competition for places.

"Now players know they are going to have to be at their very best, because if they are not, and it might only be for one game, then there is room for manoeuvre in terms of making changes."

Coyle's January dealings saw England Under-21 striker Marvin Sordell arrive from Watford, United States centre-back Tim Ream sign from the New York Red Bulls and teenage Japanese midfielder Ryo Miyaichi join on loan from Arsenal for the rest of the campaign.

Sordell made his Bolton debut as a substitute in the Norwich game and Ream and Miyaichi could both feature for the first time on Saturday when 18th-placed Wanderers take on bottom side Wigan in a crunch clash at the Reebok Stadium.

"They will all certainly be in the squad," Coyle said. "Tim Ream returned (from the US) on Monday with everything sorted with his work permit and passport, and Ryo and Marvin have now had a week training with the lads, which has been great.

"It is not always easy with young players coming in and integrating into a squad, but they have settled down and the lads have really taken to them."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph