OWEN Coyle’s problems continue to mount as Wanderers look to pull clear of relegation danger ahead of tonight’s trip to Manchester City.

With Bolton just one point above the drop zone, Coyle looks set to lose Gary Cahill for the rest of the season after he suffered a blood clot in his arm.

It is the latest in a growing list of injury problems which have blighted the new manager’s attempts to steer Wanderers to safety.

Sean Davis, Gavin McCann and Joey O’Brien are all long-term absentees, Ivan Klasnic is still two weeks away from a return to action, while Fabrice Muamba (ankle) and Andy O’Brien (calf) are both doubts for tonight’s clash with big-spending City.

On-loan winger Vladimir Weiss will also be absent as the Slovakian cannot face his parent club.

But by far Coyle’s biggest setback since taking over from Gary Megson at the Reebok last month is the loss of Cahill.

The hugely influential defender was taken to hospital before Saturday’s goalless draw with Fulham. Tests revealed he had a blood clot and the 24-year-old was only allowed home yesterday.

It is a devastating blow for both Cahill, who hoped to part of England’s World Cup squad this summer, and Wanderers, who will almost certainly be without their most talented player for the remainder of the campaign.

Cahill was due to see a specialist last night and there was a slim hope that he may figure again this season — but Coyle is fearing the worse.

“I’d be delighted (if he played again this season), but I’m not holding out much hope,” he said. “He is going to be out for a number of months.

“In training on Thursday he felt a tightness in his arm, on Friday there was a little bit of swelling and by Saturday morning the swelling was in excess of what it should be and he was taken to hospital. He’s been released from hospital but because of the nature of the medication, which thins the blood, he can’t play any sport for fear of any sort of knock which, without wishing to be too dramatic, could be life threatening.”

Coyle admitted the loss of the centre-back, who is also the club’s top scorer, is a massive loss to Wanderers.

He said: “It’s a blow to lose one of your better players, if not your best player, but his welfare is more important than anything.

“As disappointed as we are, at 24, Gary has a marvellous career ahead of him.

“I believe he would have made the World Cup for the summer but we have to make sure first of all he recovers from this blood clot.

“I don’t think it is a sport-related injury, I think it is just one of those things that can happen to anyone at any given time.”

On a rare bright note for Coyle, Gretar Steinsson will be available again after recovering from illness, while Danny Shittu, back from African Cup of Nations duty with Nigeria, is expected to be involved if O’Brien does not recover in time.