Bolton Wanderers Vs Stoke City, Sat 16 Oct 2010

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Bolton boss Owen Coyle has spoken of his admiration for Tony Pulis - although he feels the job his Stoke counterpart has done at the Britannia Stadium means he should not need anyone jumping to his defence.

Pulis' Potters were one of three sides - along with Blackburn and Wolves - picked out by Danny Murphy last week when the Fulham captain talked about reckless challenges and claimed players are being injured because certain managers are sending their teams out too fired up.

Coyle, whose side host Stoke in the Barclays Premier League, is convinced no manager would instruct a player to injure an opponent and has criticised Murphy for singling out individuals - particularly somebody of Pulis' calibre.

"Tony Pulis doesn't need anybody defending him," Coyle said.

"The job speaks for itself and, out with all the football side, he is a fantastic man.

"There is no doubt that he is a terrific manager and he has shown his qualities year in, year out but away from that he is a lovely man, a caring man and someone I have high regard for."

Pulis has received wide acclaim over the last few years for his achievements in guiding Stoke into the top flight and establishing them there.

The Staffordshire outfit suffered three straight losses in the league at the start of this campaign but have since taken 10 points from a possible 12, which has come as no surprise to Coyle.

"They are in terrific form and they had a slow start, but we all knew if would only be a matter of time before they got that first result and got up and running," Coyle said.

"So it has proved and they have shown their quality. We know it is a tough game, but it is one we are looking forward to - we are at home and we have to look to capitalise on that."

Bolton boss Owen Coyle is hopeful Kevin Davies will be fit for the clash.

Wanderers skipper Davies picked up a knock to his ankle while on international duty with England earlier this week.

Andy O'Brien (hamstring) and Joey O'Brien (knee) are still receiving treatment, while Ricardo Gardner, Jlloyd Samuel and Sean Davis also remain sidelined.

Meanwhile, Pulis accused Murphy of picking on "easy targets" and suggested the Fulham captain may have deliberately shied away from criticising bigger clubs when speaking about dangerous tackling last week.

Reading a statement aloud at Friday's press conference, Pulis said: "Two challenges this season have been committed by top players who represented their countries at this summer's World Cup.

"One challenge on Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa by Nigel de Jong of Manchester City recently led to a broken bone.

"Another by Joe Cole, one of our most technically gifted players, resulted in a sending off for one of our most celebrated clubs in the country, Liverpool, who are currently managed by Roy Hodgson, someone I have great respect for.

"Even the technically best players are prone to making mistimed challenges. But have they really been sent out to hurt a fellow professional? I don't think so.

"How ironic it is that Danny Murphy chose not to discuss either challenge or manager in respect of those tackles. How selective can someone be?

"Maybe Murphy's pursuit of a new career in the media does not allow him to criticise, or fall out with the Premier League big boys.

"Instead, in my opinion, he has selected easy targets that are based on his own perception and not facts."

Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen is an injury doubt for the trip.

Denmark stopper Sorensen sustained a muscle tear in the area around his hip while on international duty and will undergo a fitness test before the match at the Reebok Stadium.

Defender Andy Wilkinson is available after recovering from a knee problem, while forward Mamady Sidibe is a long-term absentee.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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