Coyle safe for now

First published in Sport

OWEN Coyle will today discuss his future as Wanderers boss with owner Eddie Davies and chairman Phil Gartside – but looks set to remain in charge at the Reebok.

The Glaswegian insisted he would not quit after watching his team sunk by a 90th minute winner at Millwall, which left the club in 18th position in the Championship with just three wins from 10 games.

That result led to further calls from disaffected supporters for Davies and Gartside to take decisive action, but the indications at present are that Coyle will continue to manage the club beyond the international break.

A browbeaten Whites boss described the defeat as the worst moment of his career, but still believes he can turn round the club’s fortunes.

“I would never ever walk away from Bolton Wanderers,” he said.“If, when we speak, that the powers that be feel the club need to go in a different direction then I’d understand that. It’s football.”

Gartside went on record last month as saying Wanderers were looking to maintain a two-point-per-game average in their quest for promotion, and that he and Coyle were putting themselves under “100 per cent pressure” to return to the Premier League.

Isle of Man-based owner Davies now has thinking time over the international break to decide whether to stick with his current management structure, or look elsewhere.

Coyle accepts that results do not add weight to his own claim and vowed to do some “soul searching” in an effort to see if the inadequacies of recent performances could be corrected on the training field. “It’s not something I’m going to run from,” he said. “Phil and Eddie know my thoughts because I speak to them on a daily basis. They know how much I care about Bolton Wanderers.

“Of course, I’ll take stock of the situation. All I want is the best for the club – whether that’s Owen Coyle there, or someone else. If there’s someone better suited to the football club it’s something I won’t avoid.

“I’ll analyse and see if there’s anything more I could have done as manager in the build up to the game.

“I know myself and my staff are working relentlessly. We are working our socks off.

“It’s the fine margins of football. And I know all about them because I’ve been on the right side of them often enough.”

After relegation, Coyle’s position had been cemented because of a long-term strategy, shared by Davies and Gartside, which would see greater financial stability at the club and more emphasis put on homegrown players from the Academy.

It was hoped that by retaining the vast majority of assets in his squad, a return to the Premier League – now an even more appetising prospect after being boosted by greater TV revenue – would be a swift one.

But reality set in quickly after an opening- day defeat to Burnley, and, with 10 games of the campaign gone, Coyle accepts that his long-term view won’t be embraced unless results can be gained on the pitch.

“This sounds bizarre, daft, given the situation, but I know what we’ve put in place here at the football club, I know the infrastructure and that everything is in place for the club to kick on and be very healthy for many years to come,” he said.

“Equally, I’ve got to accept that people don’t want to hear about that. They only want results on the pitch.

“When you are winning games then all that sounds like it’s rosy in the garden.

“Coming off the win at Sheffield Wednesday there’s no doubting it’s been three disappointing games. We wanted a far greater amount of points than we have taken from them.

“If we had, we’d be in a good position to make a challenge. I’ve no fear we will but we’re making it harder for ourselves every week.”

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