AS speculation over Phil Parkinson’s future at Bolton Wanderers continued last night, the man himself was busy trying to lift his players for the visit of another Championship juggernaut.

Now odds-on favourite for the vacant manager’s job at Reading, Parkinson is believed to be on a shortlist of names compiled by Royals chief executive Nigel Howe.

But as the Wanderers boss attempted to keep a lid on frustrations among his squad – who are still awaiting payment of their November salary – he appealed for focus on the impending visit of Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United, who are chasing last weekend’s opponents Norwich City at the top of the table.

Parkinson remains convinced improving performances, such as the one at Carrow Road, will eventually yield points, and an end to a barren streak of just one victory in 17 games.

“I think there’s a good chance,” he told The Bolton News. “We just have to keep doing what we’re doing. We have to work hard on that training ground, implement what we do on a Saturday or a Tuesday, and something will go for us. We can’t really look at the other stuff. No-one is going to feel sorry for us, or hand us a result on a plate.”

Reading have put Scott Marshall in caretaker charge but are understood to have several names in mind to succeed Paul Clement, who was sacked last week.

International options are being investigated, including Former Porto and Olympiakos boss Vitor Pereira and ex-Swansea City manager Francesco Guidolin.

Parkinson has allies within the Royals hierarchy and excellent links with the club he represented for 11 years as a player.

Should the club hold interviews, the process would almost certainly extend beyond this weekend’s round of games. And Parkinson’s own situation at Bolton could be a factor should the Royals make a formal approach for his services.

He and other coaching staff are owed a bonus from May, earned for keeping the club in the division, and have also gone without pay for the last 12 full days.