JIMMY Phillips is looking to tap into some Olympic spirit in his effort to get Wanderers’ stumbling season back on course.
Before his first big test against Bristol City at the Reebok this afternoon, the interim Whites boss has sought inspiration from the man who masterminded Team GB’s incredible golden summer of cycling, Dave Brailsford.
Phillips and his coaching team of Sammy Lee and Julian Darby have wasted no time putting their stamp on the training ground following the departure of Owen Coyle last week. And although the Bolton-born boss is reluctant to pitch himself as a candidate to fill the job, he revealed his inspiration for taking the reins in the short term has come from the progress made by Jason Kenny and the like in the Velodrome at London 2012.
“Aspiring to be a first-team manager is wrong,” he said. “You’ve got to improve yourself as a person, as a coach, and look at all the different ideas that are available. I remember going to a talk by the Team GB cycling team and hearing about “marginal gains”.
“They said they’d made 200 gains from taking over five years ago to what it is now after the Olympics, and it interested me.
“There have been lots of technical improvements in football – pitches, boots, balls, shin pads etc. But we need to use what we can as coaches to get the best out of players – the whole sports science side of things, the GPS, and I've embraced all that.
“How far it takes me as a person won't be for me to decide. That's for other people.”
Even though much has been made of his ‘appliance of science’ since taking over temporary charge last Wednesday, Phillips insists he is not overloading the squad with information.
“The skill is picking out the right details at the right time, and making sure you are going to improve the players,” he said.
“There's no point saying we're going to be sports science-oriented when you are giving players the wrong feedback or the wrong training.
“Through our experience, we're using methods we think will affect the team.”
All eyes are on what improvements Phillips and his staff can encourage this afternoon from a Wanderers side that has struggled to adapt to Championship football thus far.
But while critics of the former regime often lamented a lack of ‘Plan B’ - Phillips is keen to add more flexibility by making sure his players have researched their opponents in-depth.
“I believe the more good information a player has, the more they can adjust their game on a Saturday,” he said. “They won't be surprised.
“Obviously we hope the players perform well but we're leaving no stone unturned.
“The performance analysis department, through the use of video, do a lot of in-depth work and there's no point in them working hard all week if you're not going to use them.
“We'll decide how much – and what is of benefit to the players – and definitely our support staff have been really professional by providing the best service they possibly can.”