Coyle hopeful on duo
Owen Coyle is confident injury victims Joey O'Brien and Ricardo Gardner will return to action this season.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 04/03/11 11:03pm
Bolton boss Owen Coyle is confident injury victims Joey O'Brien and Ricardo Gardner will return to action this season.
Republic of Ireland international O'Brien has endured a succession of knee problems, severely limiting his involvement in recent years.
His last senior outing came way back in October 2008, with a pre-season run-out last summer as close as he has come to first-team action since then.
Jamaican midfielder Gardner has also suffered a wretched run of luck when it comes to injuries.
He has been plagued by knee problems this season, restricting him to just one Carling Cup appearance against Southampton in August.
Both O'Brien and Gardner did figure in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Molde this week, though, and are edging closer to fitness.
Coyle believes the pair will be back in contention before the 2010/11 campaign comes to a close, allowing them to put a frustrating period in their career behind them.
"Joey and Ricardo played an hour of the game which is great because when you've been out for a period of time, as both lads have, there is a feeling of frustration," said the Scot.
"But when you're back on the pitch running around again with your colleagues, then it's terrific because they know they're on their way back to recovery.
"They both did very well and are progressing nicely, which augurs well, but they will know they are a number of weeks away from full fitness and we will give them all the help we can to get back.
"I would hope they will both be back before the end of the season, although they have to make sure they are 100 per cent fit before they can show everybody what they can do."