ONE hammer blow has been all-too-quickly followed by another at Wanderers this week, but Phil Parkinson insists his players are focusing on the job in hand.

His side head for Bristol City on the back of a much-needed 5-2 FA Cup win against Walsall but although the Whites’ good name has been sullied somewhat by off-field issues, the manager is adamant his players’ concentration is on affecting only what they can.

A transfer embargo, news of winding-up orders and the ongoing saga of Christian Doidge and Remi Matthews’ returning to their parent clubs has dominated recent media coverage of the club. But with attention finally turning to the trip to Ashton Gate tomorrow, Parkinson refuses to put any excuses in place.

“It’s been an interesting week, but I’ve really got to just focus on the football and make sure the lads are focused,” he said. “And not just on this game, on what is now a 20-game season ahead of us.

“I would suggest these 20 games are bigger than anything the club’s had in its history.

“There has been a lot of work gone into the club over the last two years, getting promotion when the club was in a very difficult situation, staying up last season and being in touching distance this season despite all the problems we’ve faced. These 20 games are absolutely massive for the club and I’ve got to make sure everybody is ready for the challenge ahead.

“We’ve got to be strong enough to block anything that’s away from the pitch out of our minds, don’t use it as an excuse, concentrate on what we’ve got to do and give it absolutely everything.”

Though the transfer embargo – in place over unpaid debts to football creditors – remained in place as The Bolton News went to press,Wanderers were understood to be close to completing a deal to re-sign out-of-contract midfielder Gary O’Neil.

The former Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and West Ham man will not be in action at Bristol City tomorrow, though that is due to a training-ground knock.

“Gary O’Neil came back into training but he took a whack on his knee,” added Parkinson. “It doesn’t look too serious but he will miss out at the weekend.

“We’ve got a few problems, Noone and Vela have both been ill but Jack Hobbs and Andy Taylor are back in training, Marc Wilson is back in this week too so we’ve got those back involved.”