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Monday, January 24, 2011
Coyle pays tribute to Lofthouse

Bolton manager Owen Coyle believes the late Nat Lofthouse would have been a star attraction in the modern era, such were his skills as a centre-forward.

In fact Coyle claims no club would have been able to afford Wanderers' legendary England international.

Lofthouse scored 255 goals for the club between 1946 and 1960. He represented England 33 times, hitting the target 30 times and became widely known as the "Lion of Vienna'' after his performance against Austria.

On Monday, Bolton will pay homage to Lofthouse, who died recently at the age of 85, when they face Chelsea at the Reebok Stadium. A minute's silence will be held before kick-off.

Coyle said: "When you look at Nat and the quality he had for goalscoring, how he was physically, I am not sure if a lot of people are aware of it, he was supremely fit. He was a fantastic athlete. When you look at the position he was in and his goal ratio, you would not be able to buy him in the present day.

"Outwith that when you were in his company you always came away with a smile on your face. He was such a lovely man.''

Bolton's form has dipped after a bright start and they have picked up only eight points from their last nine games. Coyle is still hurting at the way they lost to Chelsea last month when Florent Malouda scored a disputed winner.

"It should have been ruled out for offside and we could have had a penalty,'' he said. "We have had two close run games with them and lost both 1-0. We came out on the wrong side of some major decisions in those games.

"We have been in terrific form at the Reebok and we have to make sure on Monday we make sure come out on the right side of these margins. If that happens it's a game I believe we can win.''

As well as a minute's silence in honour of Lofthouse there will a video tribute in the stadium to the one-club man beforehand.

Books of condolences will be available for fans to pay their respects in locations around the Reebok. They will also be able to lay floral tributes or mementoes.

Lofthouse's funeral and thanksgiving service will take place on Wednesday at Bolton Parish Church, followed by a private committal.

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