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Spurs-Stoke on after Muamba collapse

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LONDON, England, March 19 – Tottenham Hotspur confirmed Monday their Premier League match at home to Stoke on Wednesday will go ahead as planned.

Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane ground was abandoned after Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba collapsed shortly before half-time.

Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest, remained critically ill in a London hospital Monday.

Several Tottenham players were visibly upset by what had happened to the 23-year-old midfielder, with Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, who visited him in hospital on Sunday, in tears at what had become of his friend.

However, Tottenham did not request a postponement and a statement issued Monday said: “The club can confirm that Wednesday evening’s Premier League fixture against Stoke City at White Hart Lane will go ahead as scheduled, kicking off at 7.45pm (1945GMT).”

Spurs’s statement added: “The thoughts of everyone at the club continue to be with Fabrice Muamba, his family and Bolton Wanderers at this difficult time.”

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe was in tears at seeing his friend collapse and visited him at the London Chest Hospital on Sunday.

Meanwhile Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said any player who wanted their heart screened could have a scan at the club’s training ground on Monday.

“Fortunately, we already had a cardiologist visiting the training ground today for routine screening, so we are able to offer any player who wishes to be tested for the purpose of reassurance an additional opportunity to be screened,” Redknapp said.

Redknapp said some of his side may take time to come to terms with what they had witnessed.

“It is possible that the effects of this could hit some quicker than others and, despite these difficult circumstances, we all have to pull together and carry on with our season.

“We will be providing players with whatever support they need in order to help them move on from what has happened, while obviously always keeping Fabrice at the forefront of our minds and willing him to make a recovery.”

Tottenham’s Rafael van der Vaart, close by when Muamba collapsed, told his official website: “It’s almost incomprehensible what has happened.

“(It was) simply horrifying to see such a young player on the ground struggling for his life.

“I was standing about 10 metres from him but I didn’t see him fall. It happened behind my back, but when I turned I immediately knew things weren’t good,” the Dutchman added.

“At that time all players on the field felt the panic as well. It was horrible to witness, it’s the absolute low in my football career.

“I’d like to express my sincere support to the family, team-mates and everyone who is involved with Bolton Wanderers.

“Fabrice, we’ll keep praying for you and I hope with all my heart that everything will be all right again.”

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