THE timing of the Football Association’s decision to interview Roy Hodgson for the England manager’s job will have no bearing on Bolton’s relegation battle.
That is the view of Wanderers manager Owen Coyle, as he prepares his players to face Tottenham Hotspur at the Reebok tomorrow before entertaining West Brom on Sunday.
Harry Redknapp, the Spurs boss, was the long-time fans’ and bookies’ favourite to become England manager, and there are fears that his side will be given a huge boost by the news that he will remain in the White Hart Lane hot seat.
On the other hand, the revelation, if Hodgson is indeed given the job, may well be a crushing blow to supporets of West Brom, who he saved from relegation last season and has guided to mid-table safety this time round. Yet the players and fans, who have taken Hodgson to their hearts, will no doubt want to make sure he is given a grand send-off in their remaining two games.
All in all, chronic timing for the Whites, but all in a day’s work for Coyle in what has already been a roller-coaster season.
“I’m not interested in who gets a lift, I’m only interested in Bolton Wanderers,” he said.
“It doesn’t affect my team. Why should it affect my team? The only thing that affects Bolton Wanderers is Bolton Wanderers.
“Whatever happens at Tottenham, that’s a question for Harry.
“The players are focused and they know the job in hand and it’s up to them to go and do it, regardless of what the circumstances may be.”
The revelations about the England manager’s job is yet another twist in the script for Coyle, who has come through what has been a harrowing season with great credit.
After starting the campaign with leg-breaks to Chung-Yong Lee and Tyrone Mears, he also had to deal with on-going injury concerns over midfield star Stuart Holden before Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch at White Hart Lane.
It is a testament to the Bolton boss that his side’s destiny is still in their own hands, and he is adamant that the media circus that is now certain to engulf their next two matches will not take the focus away from the job in hand.
“Football brings huge uncontrollables at times. Whatever it is, whatever the scenario, you just have to deal with it the best you can,” he said.
“You do your best and, regardless of what situation arises, that’s what we continue to do at the football club.
“Whatever the events of this week bring, we have to make sure that our focus is on winning points. The other stuff you’ve got to put to one side and make sure you are ready to play the game.”
Needless to say, Coyle was still happy to pay tribute to his opposite numbers at both Spurs and West Brom.
“I don’t think anybody would dispute that Harry would be an ideal candidate, but so is Roy Hodgson,” said the Bolton boss.
“The bottom line is that in both people you have two outstanding managers and whoever it is I think England have got a terrific man in charge.
“Harry has seen it and done it all in football - he’s a terrific manager and an outstanding man, somebody I’ve got a lot of time for.
“But I think it was always, from the outside looking in, a difficult one to happen, if only because of the finance involved and what the compensation would be.
“I’m led to believe that it’s a huge sum and that takes nothing away from Roy and Roy’s appointment because he’s an outstanding coach, again, somebody I get on well with, somebody who in terms of football has done it all.
“He’s got experience at international level as well and it was obviously an English candidate that the country wanted and they were certainly the two in the foremost of everybody’s mind.
“There’s no doubt, both men are hugely talented.”