Coyle anticipates tough US test

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Bolton's first pre-season friendly of the summer, against FC Tampa Bay on Thursday night, will prove to be a tough ask for the club's return to competitive action, according to manager Owen Coyle.

The majority of Coyle's squad can expect a run out in tonight's clash, including his only signing of the window so far, Darren Pratley.

Coyle believes the difficult conditions will provide the perfect environment to evaluate players, and the Scot is expecting maximum effort from his players from the word go.


"There's no doubt that the game on Thursday night will provide a very difficult test for us. It will be nice if we can get a performance to go with it but we have to realise that we are only ten days back into things," he said.

"I think the lads have worked very hard and we've worked them to that level purposely. Obviously the goal is to be ready for August 13th but along the way we've got the games to get the match fitness.

"You can do all the training in the world but nothing will beat getting games under your belt to get the sharpness. I always equate it to the rungs of a ladder - when you start pre-season you are down at the bottom in terms of fitness but you gradually build it up.

"That's the biggest thing at this stage and it is why we came to this climate. These are trying circumstances because of the heat and the humidity but after our time here we will go back so much physically stronger for it."

After a pre-season tour of North America last summer, in which the Trotters took on Charlotte Eagles, Charlestown Battery, and Toronto FC, Coyle knows what to expect from the US-based players his side will come up against and thinks it will be the perfect test for his Barclays Premier League players.

"It's a huge game for Tampa because it is the first time that they have played Premier League opposition. They are going to be fired-up because it is like a cup final to them and probably their biggest game ever," Coyle continued.

"We know it will be difficult from our experiences last year in America, they were all tough games. We have to remember that the teams we are playing are in the middle of their season and they are going to be supremely fit.

"But it's a big game for us too because we want to start off on the right foot. We want to enjoy the game but we will only do so if we do things properly and approach the game in the right manner."

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Darren Pratley
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League

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