The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Paddy von Behr

IT’S a race against time to safe­guard Bolton’s fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to boss Neil Len­non, as a search for a new owner con­tin­ues.

The Trot­ters an­nounced last April that, due to debts of more than £170m, the club was seek­ing new in­vest­ment.

But things have now be­come more com­pli­cated af­ter it was re­vealed that long-time chair­man Phil Gart­side is se­ri­ously ill.

Trevor Birch, who has been in­volved in takeovers at Chelsea and Leeds, has been ap­pointed as an ad­vi­sor should any ap­proaches for the club be re­ceived.

And the sit­u­a­tion has es­ca­lated to such an ex­tent that Len­non ad­mits there is no money in the cof­fers to se­cure a sin­gle loan deal.

“Trevor’s come in and he’s here to ac­cel­er­ate the process of look­ing for po­ten­tial new own­ers and time is of the essence now,” said Len­non.“Oth­er­wise we could be fac­ing the sce­nario, maybe down the line, of ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I’ve been told there’s no money left to even bring in loan play­ers so the club needs an in­jec­tion.

“It needs some­one who’s go­ing to come in and safe­guard its fu­ture, not just on the field but off it.”

It is a sorry end to Gart­side’s lead­er­ship of Bolton, with the club hav­ing en­joyed 11 years in the Premier League un­der his con­trol – but rel­e­ga­tion to the Cham­pi­onship back in 2012 came with se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions.

Len­non, how­ever, is hope­ful that Gart­side’s health will re­turn.

“It’s a huge blow not only pro­fes­sion­ally for me but also per­son­ally be­cause Phil has been my boss but he’s also been a very good friend,” he added.

“We’re con­cerned about him and we’re hop­ing that he has a speedy re­cov­ery – he said he was feel­ing good, which is a great sign.”

CON­CERN: Neil Len­non

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