OWEN Coyle reckons he would only have allowed Kevin Davies to quit the Reebok in January if he had asked to go.

Sunderland tracked the Whites skipper during the last transfer window, eventually seeing a £250,000 bid turned down flat.

Davies wanted to stay and fight for the first-team place he lost in the new year, and showed glimpses of his very best form in Tuesday’s victory over Aston Villa.

But Coyle claims moving the striker on never crossed his mind.

“I am not being smart after the event, but the only way Kevin would have left the club was if he had wanted to leave – and he never wanted to leave,” the manager said.

“I said to Kevin that I didn’t want him to go, he is a huge part of what we are doing and he knew that.”

Davies is expected to start on the bench this afternoon after picking up a knock at Villa Park, but Coyle believes he will continue to play a major part in the relegation run-in.

“Kevin Davies will run through a brick wall for the club,” he said.

“He has come back in with a rich vein of form.”