PHIL Parkinson says he was “genuinely surprised” when Adam Le Fondre asked to quit Bolton Wanderers.

The 31-year-old striker had been offered a three-year deal to sign with Australian side Sydney FC and, says the Bolton boss, only made the request to leave on Monday.

Fans’ favourite Le Fondre had been on the bench for the opening two games of the season and had been linked with a move to Neil Lennon’s Hibs in the transfer window.

But Parkinson insists he had no inkling that the former Reading and Cardiff City man was looking to move on when he knocked on his office door.

“I was genuinely surprised when Alfie came to see me yesterday but he’s got a once in a lifetime opportunity for himself and his family and he asked if we’d let him go,” he said.

“I had no inkling at all. I thought when he came to see me that he was going to discuss the team at Leeds. But he said he’d been offered three-year deal and could we let him go.

“I spoke to the chairman and we agreed. I’d have liked it to be last week when he came to see us but Alfie has been a good servant to the club, trained very well, a good professional, so we didn’t want to stand in his way.

“We have now got to utilise the money we had to spend prior to the transfer deadline plus the saving we make on Alfie’s wages and make sure he’s not missed.”

Wanderers were beaten 2-1 at Leeds United in the first round of the Carabao Cup after Parkinson had made 10 changes to the team which drew with Bristol City at the weekend.

Erhun Oztumer scored a goal on his Bolton debut and the Whites boss was happy with his side’s performance despite a first defeat of the season.

“Genuinely I was pleased with the performance and with nine debutants it was a real plus point for us that players have got minutes in a tough game, and played well,” he said.

“I thought it was harsh to come in two down and I was disappointed with the second goal because we got done on the counter from a throw in deep in their half. That is a bit of detail when you piece a team together and don’t have much time to work on the shape of the team that can cost you.

“Leeds are a good team with a lot of talent and I think we responded the right way in the second half – it was a great finish by Oz, he never gave the ball away all night and his all-round display was excellent.

“I felt we could have got the second but it wasn’t to be. You never like getting beat as a manager or a group of players but there is a way to get beat and we went down with a real positive display.”