OWEN Coyle is working hard to protect key weapon Ryo Miyaichi for the Easter weekend’s double header.
Wanderers are wrapping the on-loan Arsenal winger in cotton wool after the manager admitted he was showing signs of fatigue in the 3-2 victory over Wolves.
The Whites face Fulham at home and Newcastle United away within three days as they look to continue their push away from the relegation zone.
Miyaichi has started each of the last seven games in league and cup, and, knowing the 19-year-old’s fine form has been a key factor in the three-game winning streak, Coyle is wary of heaping too much of a workload on to his young shoulders in the build-up.
“For Ryo’s part, there has been an awful lot asked of the kid, with the amount of games he’s had. I thought he was feeling it a little bit in his legs at the end of the (Wolves) game,” he said.
“We will need to get him rested up as best as we can to make sure he’s ready to play a part this weekend.”
Coyle praised the somewhat surprising impact Miyaichi has had since arriving at the club in January with only 36 minutes of experience in English football under his belt.
“I look at Ryo and young Mark Davies, and when they come bursting into the game, as a football lover that’s exactly what I want to see,” he said. “I’d pay money to go and see that type of player.
“They glide by tackles and get themselves into the box, try to get a shot away, draw challenges. It’s exciting to see.
“What is important is that my younger players are getting better.”
Coyle assessed some of his options in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Tranmere Rovers yesterday morning, including giving a run-out for Gregg Wylde, whose clearance from FIFA has yet to come through.
The former Rangers midfielder is waiting on an official nod from Switzerland to enable him to restart his career, after leaving Ibrox by mutual consent last month and signing for Wanderers on a free transfer.
Paperwork-pending, Wylde could be an option against Fulham if Coyle decides to rest Miyaichi, and Tyrone Mears also made a push for a first team place by coming through the game unscathed.
Miyaichi’s progress has not gone un-noticed at his parent club, either, where Theo Walcott has tipped his fellow wide man to return a better player from his spell at the Reebok.
“Ryo has done very well at Bolton,” said the England international.
“It is hard for such a young kid to go there and do what he is doing, showing no fear with everything that happened at Tottenham [with Fabrice Muamba]. It is hard and it has probably hit him hard.
“He will be a better person for it, a better player and I can see him coming back here next year and playing a lot more regularly.
“The way he is playing, there are full backs out there now who are thinking, 'I don't want to play against him this week’.”