AS Wanderers prepare for life after Phil Parkinson, they called on a familiar face to steady to ship.

Jimmy Phillips took charge at the Lostock training ground yesterday as the squad began preparation in earnest for tomorrow’s League One clash with Ipswich Town.

The former defender, now head of the academy, was placed in temporary charge but as The Bolton News went to press there was no confirmation from the club on whether he would definitely be in the dugout on Saturday.

Phillips certainly knows the course, having stepped into the breach in 2012 following the sacking of Owen Coyle, and in 2016 when he was assisted by Peter Reid to see out the Championship season after Neil Lennon’s exit.

He was considered unlucky not to land the job on a permanent basis in his first tenure, the position eventually being offered by late chairman, Phil Gartside, to Dougie Freedman.

Phillips won his first game against Bristol City 3-2 but after a 2-2 draw at Wolves news had emerged from Freedman’s employers, Crystal Palace, that an approach had been made.

Phillips saw out his agreed three-game stint with a 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough but is understood to have passed on the offer to take the temporary reins once again when the job was vacated two years later.

His second stint began under the knowledge Wanderers were heading for relegation from the Championship and that new owners Ken Anderson and Dean Holdsworth were looking for a different man to appoint permanently.

After a crushing 6-0 defeat in his first match in charge at Bristol City, Phillips won just once in 10 games – the result coming on the penultimate weekend of the season at home to Hull City courtesy of a single Stephen Dobbie goal.

Alongside Reid, he took the opportunity to start blooding younger players into the first team set-up, handing the likes of Tyler Garratt, Oscar Threlkeld and Nial Maher a chance alongside a trio of academy graduates – Rob Holding, Zach Clough and Josh Vela.

When Phil Parkinson was appointed in June 2016 Phillips returned to the academy – but his role was tweaked last summer after signing a new contract with the club to include assisting David Lee with the development squad.

Bolton man and boy, the 53-year-old could be entrusted once again to guide a young squad through a potentially difficult afternoon, with the team starting as rank 25/1 outsiders with some bookmakers to take three points.

Ipswich go into the game having signed three players this week, including full-back Kane Vincent-Young in a £500,000 deal from Colchester United.

Despite their relegation from the Championship, and the heavy financial toll which goes with it, the Tractor Boys have managed to assemble a decent squad this season. Ipswich captain Luke Chambers is surprised to see that more clubs have not encountered serious financial problems.

“It’s well documented about Bolton’s financial problems and then you see what’s happening at Bury as well. There has been talk of them going under,” he said.

“From what I have heard Bury spent a lot of money trying to get back in League One. They threw loads of money at it and that’s always dangerous.

“Look at the size of this club, with 24,000 coming through the gate and what [income] did the owner lose with relegation - £9 million?

“I’m surprised clubs haven’t gone out of business before. More money from the Premier League filtering down to the lower divisions would help.

"You’d like to think there should be help from the football family but if you start paying out well above what you are bringing in, any business is going to be in danger.”