JOSH Magennis admits playing for Northern Ireland has been a release from the stresses and strains of life at Bolton Wanderers.

The striker, who scored a winner against Belarus on Sunday night to help his country maintain a 100 per cent start to Euro 2020 qualifying, returned alongside his club team-mates at Lostock yesterday.

But speaking in the Irish press before his departure the 28-year-old said the many problems experienced off-the-field at Bolton this season have taken a toll on Phil Parkinson’s squad.

“It’s tough when you don’t get paid on time,” he said.

“It’s easy to say just get on with the game, but even though professional footballers have a job to do, it’s hard not to get distracted by what happens off the field.

“We just don’t know the ins and outs. The team have galvanised and done the best we can. There haven’t been any in-house arguments. We just come to work and get our heads down.

“It’s fantastic playing for your country. You can look at it from a different perspective. I’ve just got to go back, and avoid the worst-case scenario of relegation.”

Meanwhile, discussions over Wanderers’ immediate future continued yesterday ahead of next week’s High Court hearing.

It is understood all available options are being considered by charge holders Moonshift Investments, Michael James and Brett Warburton, although Ken Anderson has publicly ruled out the possibility of administration as things stand.

Moonshift are thought to have an option in the fine print of the £5million loan supplied by late owner Eddie Davies shortly before his death last September which allows them to take control of Anderson’s 94.5 per cent stake in Wanderers’ parent company, Burnden Leisure, if it goes into default.

That scenario could yet come into play if a deal to sell the club outright – still a distinct possibility, Anderson claimed on Monday – is not struck before the hearing on April 3.

Wanderers informed a judge last week that Anderson “is imminently going to conclude a sale of his interests in the shares” to a buyer who “already has a major stake in a high-level football club.”

Efforts to conclude the sale have continued ever since, with sources close to the University of Bolton Stadium claiming a UK-based bidder is closest to doing a deal.

Wanderers resume their relegation fight this weekend at Loftus Road against a QPR side that has won once in its last nine games, albeit that was a home victory against promotion-chasers Leeds United.

Parkinson’s options have been strengthened by the return to fitness of goalkeeper Ben Alnwick, who joined in with a practice game yesterday following a back injury.

Last season’s player of the year has missed the last 11 games but could rival Remi Matthews for a place in the side after a disastrous show against Wigan Athletic last time out.