DEBBIE Jevans, the acting EFL chief, believes the troubles faced by Bolton Wanderers and Bury have been a ‘wake up call’ for many of its member clubs.

At midnight tonight the Shakers will be ejected from the league if owner Steve Dale does not either sell the club or produce necessary evidence he can fund bills and wages.

Wanderers also lurched into financial disaster under previous owner Ken Anderson, and in May became the first club in six years to enter into administration.

Ownership problems are nothing new for the EFL, with recent examples at Coventry City, Blackpool, Macclesfield Town, Port Vale, Morecambe, Birmingham City and Leeds United. But the severity of Bury’s plight, coupled with Wanderers’ own long-standing issues have convinced many – including Jevans – that a change in policy is needed.

Such is the make-up of the EFL, any alterations to rules would be put to a vote. But the interim chairwoman, who stepped into the role vacated by the controversial Shaun Harvey this summer, believes there has been a sea change after events at Gigg Lane and the UniBol.

“What we need to do is understand how this happened, we have got to go around the clubs and ask them how we can make this better,” she told The Bolton News.

“I think clubs have woken up on this. Nobody is happy to see Bury where they are and there is a lot of sympathy right across the board “I think this has made clubs and football in general take a good hard look at itself.

“The owners and directors test shows that a person can run a business in company law but we need to look at what we can do outside of that.

Jevans confirmed that Wanderers’ recent decision to cancel their game against Doncaster Rovers will be referred to an independent disciplinary panel alongside last season’s unfulfilled fixture against Brentford. She declined to confirm when Bolton will learn what punishment is to be handed out.

She stood by the decision to allow Bolton to start the season at Wycombe despite still being in administration – arguing the situation at Bury, who have had their first five games suspended, is incomparable.

“The two situations were very different because Bury are owned by an individual whereas Bolton are being run by administrators,” she said, yesterday afternoon.

“Bolton came to us with a lot of proof that there was a purchaser ready to complete but we accept there have been some complexities around that – Laurence Bassini going to court, for example. That has delayed things and it is frustrating.

“I want to see that done, now. I really do.”

Jevans offered a shred of hope to crisis-club Bury as the minutes tick down towards the club’s expulsion from the league.

Although a midnight deadline still remains, she conceded a short stay of execution could be granted to allow “credible” buyers time to agree a deal.

Dale has reportedly been in talks with four different buyers, one of which is former Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite.

“We at the EFL have received communication from people who are interested in purchasing the club,” she said. “Some have asked to see financial details and we have communicated with Steve Dale on their behalf.

“We have worked with them – put A in touch with B – and doing whatever we can on that front.

“The situation we have right now is that there is a deadline of midnight on Friday.

“If by that time we are still in this situation the share will be revoked and Bury will no longer be a member of the league.

“I assume at that stage they would then have to apply to the Football Association for membership to another league lower down the football pyramid.”

Asked if they could extend the deadline and allow Bury time to agree terms with a buyer over the weekend, she added: “If there is a credible option”.

Bury North MP James Frith and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham have written to the EFL to request that they delay their decision.

There has been a mass outpouring of sympathy for the 134-year-old club across football and Forever Bury have announced plans for fans to gather at 3pm on Saturday at Gigg Lane regardless of the outcome of the next 24 hours.

The situation is of great concern to Jevans – but she maintains the Shakers cannot be treated differently.

“We have continued to ask Steve Dale for the financial information that we requested but I stress, what we are asking of him is not different to what we would ask of any other club,” she said.

“We want to know source of funding, how he intends to pay wages, electricity bills, but thus far he has been unable to do that.

“I genuinely do lie awake at night worrying about this situation. It is horrible.

“Watching what happened at the stadium yesterday and people bringing a coffin – I absolutely hate it. It is horrid. Football can’t be in this situation.

“But we have a duty of care to protect the integrity of the league and how in our right mind can we allow a club to continue when there is no proof that they can pay wages?”

In the event the sale of Bury Football Club can be progressed, Jevans has warned there cannot be any further disruption to the fixture schedule.

“Practically-speaking, we have already suspended five matches and it is inevitable that there will be further ones called off, inclement weather, for example,” she said.

“We have to consider the other clubs in all of this.

“In reality, there is a window of 24-48 hours, but it is a really short time frame.”