Bolton boss Owen Coyle believes David Wheater will be a more than able replacement for Zat Knight after confirming the defender did suffer knee ligament damage in Sunday's win over Everton.
The 30-year-old sustained the damage to his right leg in a last-ditch tackle on Victor Anichebe in the first half of the 2-0 victory and Coyle confirmed he expects Knight to be missing for between four and six weeks.
The Trotters manager said: "It's not as severe as we first thought but certainly bad enough to keep him out for a period of time. There's severe swelling in the area so I think we'll know better in seven to 10 days when that goes down."
He added: "It's a terrible loss, first and foremost for Zat, because he's played every game for me since I came to the football club over a year ago."
The major consolation for Coyle is he has a ready-made replacement in Wheater, who joined the club last month from Middlesbrough and came on for Knight against Everton.
"When somebody receives an injury, it opens the door for someone else," said Coyle. "David's stepped into the breach and he's showed the quality we believe he has. That's why we brought him to the football club."
Wheater turned 24 on Monday and, like his new centre-back partner Gary Cahill, is considered one of England's most promising defenders.
Coyle added: "They have tremendous mobility, they have real desire, they're very young and they'll continue to get better.
"We were excited with the signing of David Wheater but he knew, given the partnership that Gary Cahill and Zat Knight had, that he was going to have to be patient and bide his time until he got his opportunity.
"We have real belief in him and it will be up to David, now that he's got that jersey, to do everything he can to hold onto it."
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