Coyle wary of ‘tough’ Saints tie

Just three days after a successful trip to West Ham in the Premier

League, Bolton are clocking up the miles once more on the first

step towards what Coyle hopes will be a place at Wembley in March.

Quite aside from the length of the journey, the Trotters chief is

wary of Southampton’s ability. Alan Pardew’s men may have struggled

for form so far this term but Coyle does not expect that situation

to last long. “It is probably the toughest tie we could have got,”

said Coyle. “Southampton are a big club and while I know they are

in League One now, I truly believe by the end of the season, they

won’t be.” It means Coyle will select an experienced line-up this

evening, even if a few senior stars, such as Jussi Jaaskelainen and

Kevin Davies, will get a rest. As the man who guided Burnley into

the semi-finals two years ago – where they were unlucky to lose

against Tottenham – and then saw how that run galvanised the

Clarets, who were ultimately promoted through the play-offs, Coyle

knows the benefits that can emerge from extended participation in a

cup competition. “I have always loved cup competitions and I have

always believed they can work alongside a league programme,” said

Coyle, who is set to give a debut to Hungary-born 21-year-old

keeper Alex Bogdan. “You want to win every competition you enter.

“We showed that at Burnley. The Carling Cup run we had there

galvanised us and took us on collectively. “But over the course of

that season, we played 61 games, so you do have to juggle things

around a little bit.”