DEFEAT against Ipswich Town last weekend ranked as one of the low points in Phil Parkinson’s footballing career.

Viewed by most fans as the last chance to avoid relegation to League One, the result left everyone connected with Wanderers feeling cold.

Results in midweek mean Bolton cannot be mathematically consigned to the drop whatever happens at Derby this weekend – but Parkinson cannot shake the feeling of disappointment that his team failed to build on victory at QPR a fortnight ago.

“The Ipswich game was the big one for us,” he said. “We needed to capitalise on two home games after winning away from home and we haven’t been able to do that.

“It’s so difficult when you lose. Sunday was probably the lowest I have felt in my whole career, as a player or as a manager.

“People outside football don’t understand just how much it affects your own personal life, that goes for myself and the staff.

“The result at the weekend was just such a difficult one to take.”

Understandably, Parkinson is reluctant to mention relegation until it is confirmed.

That could happen by Good Friday, when the club host Aston Villa, or perhaps even at Blackburn Rovers on Easter Monday – a thought to chill the bones of any Bolton fan.

Putting a positive spin on the situation, Parkinson wonders if his players could show the same inhibition tomorrow at Derby as Ipswich did at the University of Bolton Stadium.

“Ipswich probably thought they were dead and buried at the weekend and managed to play with some freedom, so we have got to carry on in the same way,” he said.

“We can’t just throw in the towel. We will come back in to work and figure out a way of approaching the Derby game together.”

Wanderers will check on Luca Connell before deciding whether to take the 17-year-old to the iPro Stadium.

The homegrown midfielder impressed against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night but cramped up towards the end of the game and was replaced by Callum Connolly.

“Like I have said since day one he needs managing because the physical demands of this division are as hard as any across Europe but he has coped really well,” Parkinson said.

“He hit some fantastic passes and showed what a fantastic young player he is but he cramped up towards the end and we were never going to risk him getting injured.”