The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Paul Ed­di­son

PHIL BROWN in­sists he is con­cen­trat­ing on win­ning pro­mo­tion with Southend United, de­spite be­ing tipped to take the reins at Bolton Wan­der­ers.

Cham­pi­onship side Bolton parted com­pany with man­ager Neil Len­non on Tues­day af­ter for­mer player Dean Holdsworth’s Sport Shield con­sor­tium com­pleted a takeover of the club.

And, while the Trot­ters have con­firmed in­terim man­ager Jimmy Phillips will re­main in charge for the rest of the cam­paign, it has done lit­tle to de­ter talk of Brown re­turn­ing to Bolton.

Brown made more than 250 ap­pear­ances for the Trot­ters be­fore serv­ing as as­sis­tant man­ager to Sam Al­lardyce for more than six years.

But, with Southend head­ing into yes­ter­day’s clash with Gilling­ham just four points off the League One play-off places, Blues boss Brown is fo­cus­ing on the task at hand.

“I’m happy as man­ager of Southend, but I am am­bi­tious. I want to get back to the high- est pos­si­ble level,” said the 56-year-old, who has been in charge of the Shrimpers for the past three years.

“I want to have an­other crack at the Premier League, but I have a big job on my hands with Southend and that’s all I’m fo­cus­ing on.

“Spec­u­la­tion is al­ways flat­ter­ing be­cause it means you’re do­ing well, but all I’m think­ing about is Southend and I would like to think our per­for­mance at Barns­ley last Satur­day (a 2-0 win) showed that.”

Brown, who led Southend to pro­mo­tion via the play-offs last sea­son, is con­tracted to the club un­til the end of the 2017-18 cam­paign.

But he re­vealed he has al­ready been in talks with chair­man Ron Martin about sign­ing a new deal.

“I’ve had plenty of con­ver­sa­tions with the chair­man about the fu­ture and new con­tracts have come up,” he added. “There’s still work to be done here and we want to get this club back into the Cham­pi­onship.”

HAPPY: Phil Brown

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