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Bolton running low on numbers

Owen Coyle will travel to Anfield with just 15 fit players in his Bolton side for their New Year’s Day showdown with Liverpool.

The Trotters could only name six fit substitutes for Wednesday’s loss at Chelsea and their fortunes haven’t improved since then.

Full-back Paul Robinson is the latest addition to the absentee list having picked up a fifth booking of the season in the loss at Stamford Bridge, leaving former Real Madrid youngster Marcos Alonso to make his Premier League debut following his two million pound signing over the off-season.

Gretar Steinsson is also set to miss out due to a knee injury and South Korean winger Chung-Yong Lee has departed for the Asian Cup in Qatar, leaving Coyle facing the prospect of naming only five substitutes.

“Unless there are a couple of miraculous recoveries, I expect to only have 15 players available for the match,” Coyle said.

“But we will just get on with it with a smile on our face and look to go and win a very difficult game.”

“I have to make sure my group are fresh and at their best bearing in mind we probably have the smallest squad in the division.”

Coyle’s counterpart Roy Hodgson has been criticised ahead of the game for comments relating to a lack of support from the fans, while a poor run of results has seen the Reds slip to 12th in the league.

But the Wanderers manager insists he has too many problems of his own to worry about under-fire Hodgson.

“I only focus on my team,” said Coyle. “Whatever happens at any other football club is for that club to look after.”

“We’ll be going there looking to be positive and with a game plan.”

Tamir Cohen is one of eight first teamers missing from the Bolton side.The midfielder is back in Israel on compassionate leave following the death of his father, the former Liverpool defender Avi, and Coyle has no plans to rush him back.

“It’s up to Tamir,” Coyle said. “It’s such a difficult time for him and his family. He’ll come back when it’s the right time for Tamir.”

Fri 31 December, 2010
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