WHEN one of the dressing room’s most laid-back customers adds his voice to those seeking an end to the internal conflict at Wanderers, you sense a crucial stage has been reached.

Ken Anderson will meet today with representatives of the Professional Footballers’ Association, his coaching staff and players to address the player pay dispute which has overshadowed the club’s preparations for the new Championship season.

The non-payment of bonuses and wages, due in June, prompted unprecedented industrial action from the players and the late cancellation of a friendly at St Mirren on July 7.

The situation prompted emotional responses from both camps – players claiming they had been put into an “impossible situation” by ownership, and Anderson countering with an accusation of “blackmail and threats” to the players themselves.

Yet 10 days after the Scotland game was cancelled, leaving many supporters out of pocket, hopes are high that constructive talks can be held at the meeting today which will allow Wanderers to begin rebuilding their damaged reputation and prevent such issues escalating again.

Sammy Ameobi is among those hoping for progress. The winger signed a two-year deal with Bolton this summer despite having been caught up in the cross-fire of financial issues in the past.

Speaking on behalf of the dressing room, the 26-year-old admitted the ongoing dispute has been a distracting factor in pre-season.

“It’s one of those things – we have just tried to get on with it,” he told The Bolton News. “This is our job, our livelihood, and we want to do the best we can for ourselves, our families and for the fans. Whatever goes on above us now we’ll have to deal with, because we want it all sorted sooner rather than later so we can just concentrate on playing football. We don’t’ want to have to think about the other stuff. It’s distracting and it’s not what you want as a footballer.”

One of the key factors to be addressed in the meeting was the breakdown in communication between Anderson and his squad in the final week of June, when the payment was not made.

It is claimed within the dressing room that no warning was given that funds would not hit the bank on the last day of the month, and that a pledge from senior staff that the situation would be resolved on Friday, July 6, was not carried through.

Anderson alleges that payment was withdrawn, based on the impending strike action.

It is understood two players – Ben Amos and Chris Taylor – were initially not paid their wage, and those entitled to receive bonuses for Championship retention, appearances and goals, did not receive the funds.

Twelve months ago Anderson had voiced his concern over cash-flow at Wanderers in the summer months as he faced a £500,000 bonus bill, including payments for promotion from League One.

Those concerns were reiterated in the chairman’s statement on July 7 but, claim players, were not offered in notice of the payment issues which cropped up before their week-long training camp in Scotland.

Anderson has talked openly about his efforts to find outside investment and someone with “deeper pockets” this summer, claiming on March 23 that “somewhere between £10m and £30m” would be sought.

As all the issues rumble on behind the scenes at the Macron Stadium – itself in the throes of a name-change – Phil Parkinson and his squad are trying to keep focus on strengthening the squad.

Ameobi says Saturday’s game at Halifax was a positive step and evidence the dressing room remained a united force.

“It was our first performance,” he told us. “Me and the boys want the best for this club. We want to play football and work hard.”