GRETAR Steinsson’s Wanderers future looks in serious doubt after Owen Coyle got tough with his underperforming stars.

Defender Steinsson and Fabrice Muamba were left out of the squad completely for Saturday’s victory at Wigan, while Zat Knight was dropped to the bench.

Coyle’s hard line was rewarded with a vital 3-1 win as Bolton ended a run of six successive Premier League defeats to move off the foot of the table.

And it could be the beginning of the end of Steinsson’s Reebok career with the Icelandic full-back out of the contract at the end of the season.

The club have yet to open talks over a new deal and the 29-year-old, who has struggled with injuries over the last 12 months, has fallen out of favour with Coyle.

The Scot brought in right-back Tyrone Mears from his former club Burnley over the summer and, although he broke his leg in pre-season, he is expected back early in the new year, while the versatile Sam Ricketts could return before Christmas after rupturing his Achilles in February.

Despite their absence, Steinsson, a £3.5million signing from AZ Alkmaar in January 2008, has fallen behind Dedryck Boyata in the pecking order after the Belgian youngster joined on a season-long loan from Manchester City.

His omission at the DW Stadium comes after he was hauled off at half time of the 5-1 mauling by Chelsea after he was badly at fault for Daniel Sturridge’s opener.

And Coyle believes Steinsson and Co only have themselves to blame for being axed at Wigan.

The Bolton boss said: “I don’t put them out of the team; their performances put them out of the team.

“If they don’t get to the standard, I have got to recognise there is someone else waiting in the wings.

“There weren’t enough players playing to the top of their ability to say ‘I am in charge of that jersey’.

“It’s not easy leaving players out of the 18, never mind the 11. What I have said is when you get the jersey, it's up to you to put in a performance to keep it.”

Knight was another casualty at the weekend, and will again watch from the sidelines against Sunderland at the Reebok on Saturday after replacement David Wheater produced a man-of-the-match display.

Coyle added: “I felt it was only right that David (Wheater) came back in because he had been so unlucky to get sent off against Arsenal and had played so well against Aston Villa.

“Zat Knight came on against Chelsea and did well, so he might feel a little bit unfortunate in that respect.

“But having said that, a lot of them had the jersey before and had not done their best to make a claim and stay in the team. If you play well, you stay in my team.”