JIMMY Phillips insists he is not here to hold the fort – he is on a mission to get Wanderers moving back up the Championship table.

From terraces, to ball boy, to boot room, the former Burnden Park favourite has seen his beloved club from every angle imaginable.

But tomorrow’s clash with Bristol City presents his first opportunity in the hotseat, and one that the Bolton-born coach is determined to take with both hands.

Just over a week since being put in temporary charge of first-team affairs after the sacking of Owen Coyle, the 46-year-old has already instigated several changes on the training field intended to shake the Whites from their current malaise.

And though he is reluctant to throw his name in the frame to land the job permanently, he is serious about earning results in the short term that will ensure he is regarded as a strong contender for the post.

“The work we’ve done with the players hasn’t been about stabilising, it’s been done with the sole intention of improving,” said Phillips, in his first press conference at Euxton.

“Time will tell how soon an appointment needs to be made. That won’t be our decision – that will be up to the owner Eddie Davies and the chairman Phil Gartside.

“We’ve come in to improve things in the short term, and we’ll take it as far as we can.”

Sammy Lee will return to the home dugout tomorrow for the first time since his last game in charge of the Whites, against Chelsea, in October 2007.

It will be a first appearance for Farnworth-born-and-bred Julian Darby, however, who was drafted in by Phillips to help make up the interim management team.

For someone who watched the club from the terraces as a boy, this would look like a dream ticket.

But Phillips is no wet-behind-the-ear apprentice, and he intends to make sure his rich coaching experience in the Reserves, Academy and in the first team set-up under Sam Allardyce, is put to good use.

“When I was a season ticket holder in the Seventies, I always wanted to play for the club. I managed to do that,” he said.

“I even captained the club for one game, against Sheffield United away, but I can’t remember the score. It suggests we didn’t do well, I suppose.

“I see quotes from modern day players coming to the end of their career who say ‘I’m about to do my badges’ but I was one of those who did mine four or five years before I retired because I knew coaching was the avenue I wanted to go down.

“I’ve enjoyed all the different challenges that have come my way since I finished playing – youth team coach, reserve team coach, first team coach, now Academy manager. Now I can use all those experiences that came my way in life to improve the first team.”