THERE was no page in the coaching manual for Phil Parkinson to consult when he learned on Thursday evening that his players would not be paid on the eve of a local derby.

Even after nearly 1,300 career games as a manager and player, life at his current club, Bolton Wanderers, has a propensity to surprise. Or perhaps shock is a more suitable word?

Not for the first time, Parkinson called his players together on the training ground to discuss financial issues, although there were a few new faces gathered as it was explained that a group of senior pros would be picked to speak with club owner Ken Anderson later in the day to get answers on why their November salary had not hit the bank account.

Parkinson diplomatically described the distraction as “hardly ideal” but the 50-year-old admits he is getting battle-hardened to the off-the-field headlines and dramas which seem to have followed the club around since his arrival in 2016.

“This spell, with the player strike in pre-season, the brush with administration and then this type of thing… No. I don’t think I have ever experienced anything like it, honestly,” he told The Bolton News.

“I have never been in a situation where there are the financial problems at any club I’ve been at, and that’s going back to Bury as a player.

“It’s not something you learn as a manager on your pro licence course, it’s not on the syllabus but I think me and the players have got to handle it.

“You have to be tough to be in football sometimes and I think some people might not understand that. You have to be mentally strong.

“It isn’t nice. It isn’t ideal. But we have to make sure that we use this experience to make us stronger.”

When the news broke on Thursday that no staff – including administration and hotel employees – were guaranteed their wages on Friday, the Bolton boss was on the way to one of his children’s parents’ evening.

Once the parental duties were done, however, he set about trying to contain the crisis.

“I spoke to a few of the players on Thursday night and that was important because I didn’t want them to just get a surprise Friday morning,” he said. “That’s a matter of respect because I only found out myself in the early evening.

“I pulled a few of the younger players to one side this morning, like Joe Williams – even though he’s only a loan player, and had a chat. I said there would be a bit of unrest in the training ground and that he needed to deal with it and learn from the experience.”

Parkinson has been praised by Bolton fans for the dignified way he has led the club through some choppy waters – but equally, the same supporters have been less than impressed with his team’s performances on the pitch.

One win in 15 games, a dearth of goals and a list of uninspired performances have seen calls for him to lose his job grow louder in volume over recent weeks – especially among travelling fans in midweek at Sheffield Wednesday.

“Whether you are Manchester United or Macclesfield Town manager you are going to get criticised when you are not winning games,” Parkinson said. “That’s every manager, every level, any country.

“If you win you’ve picked the right team. If you lose people ask if it’s the right shape, or style, should he have played, etc?

“Sometimes the dividing line between being a great tactician and getting the win can just be putting the ball in the back of the net.

“I’m not concerned about being criticised at all. It’s part and parcel of the job.

“When I first went to Colchester United Brian Owen was on the coaching staff and had worked with Sir Bobby Robson. He’d tell me lots of stories about him – but he’d always say his biggest quality was having a thick skin.

“He didn’t let anything affect him. And Brian said if I was going to be a manager for a long time then I’d have to have a thick skin.”