Club comes first

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , chief football writer

GRETAR Steinsson has urged Wanderers’ out-of-contract stars to put the club first and fight for Premier League safety before worrying about their own futures.

The Icelander is one of 10 first team players whose deal at the Reebok expires this summer.

Kevin Davies, Jussi Jaaskelainen, Martin Petrov, Sam Ricketts and Ivan Klasnic are also among the leading lights who could potentially walk out of the club for free at the end of the season.

Both Phil Gartside and Owen Coyle have stated clearly that there will be no negotiations until the club know what division they will be playing in next season – a question that seems destined to remain unanswered until the final weekend.

Steinsson believes contractual issues must be put completely out of mind over the next six games as Wanderers attempt to save their skins.

“It’s all about personality now,” he said. “Our backs are against the wall and it’s about stepping forward, showing that you are a big man and going into these last games wanting to stay up.

“Whether you want to stay at the club or leave the club, you need to make sure you leave it as you found it, in the Premier League.”

Wanderers found themselves back in the bottom three after Wigan Athletic’s shock victory over Manchester United and QPR’s comfortable win against Swansea City on Wednesday night Although they would have two games in hand on their rivals, the Whites could potentially be five points adrift of safety by the time they next take the field, also against Swansea, at the Reebok a week tomorrow.

And Steinsson reckons the mere sight of the league table should serve as a wake-up call to anyone whose mind is not focused on the task ahead.

“I think it will be good to take a step back, see the other teams and their results,” he said. “If we end up back into the bottom three perhaps then we can see how tough it is going to be to get out of it.

“We have got players with minor injuries and it might be good to take a bit of time, get that togetherness, and show that we have the team spirit that will help us stay up.”

“I think we still need to be positive because it’s still in our own hands. We just need to step back and calm the minds and go after it. We have the ability to do so, but we do have to step up a notch.”

Even though the goals dried up for Wanderers over the Easter break in defeats to Newcastle United and Fulham, Steinsson is confident there are enough players in the squad capable of chipping in.

“Everyone wants a goalscorer to score 19 or 20 goals a season but we don’t all have £20million to buy one,” he said.

“It might be that we all need to chip in. David Wheater scored twice a few weeks ago, Marcos Alonso and Martin Petrov scored at Wolves.

“It’s a team effort. We all can score goals, so we all have to take the responsibility to make those runs into the box and take our chances. We have strong players and they need to show strong character now.”

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