MEET the trio charged with laying the groundwork for the next permanent manager at the Reebok.
Jimmy Phillips, Sammy Lee and Julian Darby welcomed the players back yesterday for the first time since Owen Coyle’s departure, making sure it was business as usual at Euxton.
Aside from those on international duty, it was a full turn out from the senior squad, with Ricardo Gardner also training alongside his former team-mates in his continuing efforts to get a new club.
And Phillips – now in his 24th season at the club – revealed that a team meeting was called to discuss the new arrangements before going out on to the pitch.
“Myself and Sammy had a meeting with the chairman on Tuesday where he asked us to take temporary charge of the team,” said the Bolton-born Academy Director.
“We’re going to be pulling out all the stops to get the best out of the players.
“We spoke to the squad this morning and had a brief introductory meeting before heading out onto the training ground.”
For Farnworth-born Darby, it is a dream come true to work at the club he has supported since a boy.
The man who was famously pictured jumping for joy behind the Burnden Park nets as Frank Worthington scored “that” goal against Ipswich Town has been drafted in to assist in the interim coaching staff.
Darby has already chalked up six years of experience under Billy Davies at Preston North End, Derby County and Nottingham Forest, and his arrival at Bolton has certainly set tongues wagging around the town that the Scot could be in line for the manager’s role.
What may not be common knowledge is that the 44-year-old had been lending a hand in the Academy set-up prior to being asked to work with the first team.
Phillips said he was only to happy to ask his former team-mate to pitch in.
“We’ve brought in Julian because he’s an excellent coach – he’s shown that in the work he’s been doing with the academy,” said the former defender, who made 411 appearances for Wanderers before moving into coaching as youth team and reserve team manager, and then heading up the Academy in 2008.
“He’s been in and around the Championship for a good number of years now, working with Preston, Derby and Nottingham Forest and has enjoying various successes.
“Julian and Sammy have both also played for Bolton, so we’ve of course got the best interests of the club at heart.”
With the identity of the new manager currently unknown, Phillips knows he could now be preparing a team for their next home game against Bristol City.
Having had helped in the transition between Gary Megson and Owen Coyle, the task of working with the first team is not a foreign one to the 46-year-old, whose service to the club was rewarded with a testimonial game against Glasgow Celtic in 1998.
And having worked hard in the last few years to produce results in the Academy, Phillips intends to make sure that the incoming manager can hit the ground running when he is appointed.
“We’ve got training planned for this week and next, and we’ll be building our work up looking towards the Bristol City game, whatever the time frame may be,” he said.
“The chairman has recognised the great work that has gone on in the academy in the last four years. We want the whole club to be running and to have a smooth transition from top to bottom.”