Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle says the club face competition for the signing of Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing.

Having signed both Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin this summer, Spearing's opportunities are expected to be restricted this season.

But Coyle, speaking after Bolton's League Cup defeat to Crawley Town, says a deal for the Liverpool man could be scuppered by interest from bigger clubs.

Jay Spearing
Spearing is down the pecking order at Liverpool.

"It's more complicated than people think," Coyle said. "It isn't just a case of going out and bringing him in.

"Jay Spearing is a very good player and there's a lot of competition for that lad's signature.

"All we can do is our very best, and we'll continue to do that.

"I can't say right now that he's going to sign tomorrow morning because there is huge interest in him from clubs much bigger than ourselves. We'll see what transpires."

Coyle is attempting to mastermind a return to the top flight at the first time of asking, and has already strengthened his midfield in the form of Republic of Ireland international Keith Andrews and 19 year old Joe McKee.

Though having seen Nigel Reo-Coker leave the club in the summer and Fabrice Muamba retire from the game following a cardiac arrest last year, Coyle is in desperate need of a holding midfielder.

Spearing is reportedly attracting additional interest from the likes of Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Southampton.

The 23 year old has made two appearances for Liverpool so far this season, both in the Europa League against FC Gomel, having featured 25 times in the 2011/12 season.

Now down the pecking order, the tenacious midfielder is likely to see his opportunities limited this term, with Allen, Sahin, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson all set to be preferred during Brendan Rodgers' first campaign at Anfield.

However, the Northern Irish boss is expected to be without midfielder Lucas Leiva for two months after picking up a thigh injury during the 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

The 25 year old lasted just five minutes against the Premier League champions, and is now expected to miss a significant portion of the season just weeks after making his long awaited return from a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered last November.

Lucas said on Twitter: "Thanks all the message. I am devastated but I need to put my head right and see in the next few days how bad was. Good night. [sic]"

After facing Hearts in the second leg of their Europa League play-off round, Liverpool's tough run in the Premier League continues against Arsenal, before a trip to Sunderland comes prior to a meeting with Manchester United.