COLIN Todd has urged Wanderers’ under-performing players to buck up their ideas and not use the club’s crippling financial problems as an excuse.

The man who led the Whites to a record-breaking promotion to the Premier League in 1997 as they waved goodbye to Burnden Park has kept tabs on current events from his base for the last four years in Denmark.

Todd, in charge at Randers FC, has offered a word of support to Neil Lennon as he attempts to stabilise the Whites in the short-term while ownership issues are cleared up.

Current financial constraints mirror those faced by Todd when he was forced to start dismantling a talented team in 1999 as the club struggled to come to terms with defeat against Watford in the previous season’s play-offs.

Cashflow problems have been hard to ignore at the Macron of late, although Monday’s announcement that loans owed to Eddie Davies will be wiped out when a takeover is finalised provided respite from the doom and gloom.

As the boardroom battle rolls on, Todd believes there should be a greater emphasis on the players to dig in for results.

“Neil Lennon has a tough job on his hands and I have seen he is not using it as an excuse,” he told The Bolton News. “I only hope that is exactly the same for his players.

“Right now with the club at the bottom of the table and not winning games, it heightens things. Everything looks worse, not least the economy of the club.

“But Neil’s job doesn’t change. He still needs to get 11 men on the pitch doing a job for him. They are still being paid to be professional footballers and they have to earn that money.

“Mentality is just so important in football. When you are winning it is strong but there is no reason why that shouldn’t be the case when you are up against it too.

“When you are in a dogfight, like Bolton seem to be at the moment, you realise who are the real men; who you would want in the trenches with you.

“Neil will be looking round and knowing who he can trust.”

Sixteen years ago former chairman Gordon Hargreaves was forced to issue a statement through the Bolton Evening News scotching rumours that the club was close to bankruptcy. But the sale of Danish star Per Frandsen proved the final straw for Todd, who walked out after a League Cup game against Gillingham – the club later admitting it could not match his ambitions.

It was at that time Eddie Davies first joined the board, followed quickly by Phil Gartside’s appointment as chairman and Sam Allardyce as manager.

From there the Premier League era put the club on a completely different financial plane but Todd identifies with the situation in which Lennon and his staff now find themselves, having experienced them alongside Bruce Rioch at Middlesbrough early on in his coaching career.

“When finances actually stop you getting players in, that’s a situation that can really test your confidence,” he said, reflecting on recently collapsed loan deals for Wolves winger Rajiv van la Parra and Liverpool’s Joao Teixeira. “You know if you can get one or two fresh faces in that it will make a big difference and that it would give a lift to everyone but when you can’t, no matter how hard you want to, it is a real test.

“Back when me and Bruce were at Middlesbrough it worked completely the opposite way. We didn’t have two pennies to rub together and the players were only getting paid because we’d marched down to the Lord Mayor’s office.

“But we were locked out of Ayresome Park and facing a hard time of it.

“In the end we rallied together. We were united. I think only one player left at the time, Peter Beagrie, but the rest stayed to fight their corner and we didn’t look back.”

Todd hopes takeover talks are completed quickly to enable Lennon to make some changes to his squad in the New Year but in the meantime, he expects Wanderers’ fans to give the manager as much backing as they can.

“I’m sure the Bolton fans will know the situation they are in and back the club to the hilt,” he said. “In my time they were tremendous and gave me many happy memories.

“They will be expecting more than they are getting on the pitch at the moment and they have every right to but supporters perhaps need to ask whether it is the manager who has got the club to where they are now?”

Tomorrow: Colin Todd looks back on his time at Wanderers.