PHIL Parkinson admitted his side’s poor preparation for the Ipswich Town game contributed to a 2-1 defeat that leaves the club on course for relegation.

After failing to receive their pay on time for a second successive month and citing support for non-playing staff who had also not been paid, the first team squad went on strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The game itself had been in serious doubt, first when Bolton Council revoked the stadium’s safety certificate because of a concern over stewarding and secondly when a power surge caused a mass crash of computer systems on Friday.

But after engineers worked through the night to get the game on, two first-half goals from Colin Quaner did the damage as the rock-bottom Tractor Boys romped to a comfortable victory.

An injury time own goal from Josh Emmanuel came too late for Parkinson’s side to salvage anything and the Whites boss offered little defence for his players after a week he described as his “darkest” in football.

“We were off the pace first half and nowhere near the levels required at this level to win games. They were sharper than us and the goals conceded were soft,” he said.

“We looked really poor when you compare us to what we did last week.

“Second half we did better. The subs came on and made a difference, but we looked off the pace all over the pitch.

“I think the week’s preparation has not been good enough.

“At this level if you have got two or three players who have missed training then it’s a concern about whether to go with them, such are the physical demands of them.

“But when you have got a whole squad who haven’t prepared as well as they can as well as we can, I think it showed.

“Anybody could see we looked laboured and the preparation wasn’t good enough.

“When we train well, we play with that intensity, but we didn’t show that.

“The off-the-pitch situation is weighing heavily on everyone’s shoulders because it has gone on a long time. Is it an excuse? Well, it looked it in that first 45 minutes.

“It was a key factor. Players don’t mean to go out there and not play well and though it was better second half we haven’t taken a great opportunity today.”

Asked if he knew when March salaries would arrive, Parkinson added: “We have had no indication of when the wages will be paid and I think from everyone’s point of view, that’s the hardest thing to take. We need to know when that situation will be resolved.”

Wanderers are now eight points from safety with six games to play and are now 200/1 ON with some bookmakers to drop into League One.

“This is a crushing blow and we can’t hide away from that with other teams winning around us,” Parkinson said.