Parkinson is keeping his focus on the pitch
BOLTON Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson has insisted off-field problems will not affect his side’s performance against Bristol City today.
The Trotters face the first of two trips to Ashton Gate in the space of a fortnight with an FA Cup fourth round tie to follow on January 26.
City have found some form and are unbeaten in nine games – including the 1-0 FA Cup defeat of Premier League side Huddersfield – in a run that stretches back to late November.
The Robins’ visitors are in turmoil as a result of financial difficulties, with the club subject to a transfer embargo and two winding-up orders, while there is also a murky ongoing saga surrounding two loan players returning to parent clubs.
Striker Christian Doidge has gone back to Forest Green Rovers after his proposed permanent transfer fell through, while goalkeeper Remi Matthews has returned to Norwich City. He was also signed on loan in August with the deal due to be made permanent this month.
However, Parkinson says all the issues behind the scenes will not affect his side’s performance.
“It’s been an interesting week, but I’ve really got to just focus on the football and make sure the lads are focused,” he said.
“And not just on this game, on what is now a 20-game season ahead of us. I would suggest these 20 games are bigger than anything the club’s had in its history.
“There has been a lot of work gone into the club over the last two years, getting promotion when the club was in a very difficult situation, staying up last season and being in touching distance this season despite all the problems we’ve faced.
“These 20 games are absolutely massive for the club and I’ve got to make sure everybody is ready for the challenge ahead. We’ve got to be strong enough to block anything that’s away from the pitch out of our minds, don’t use it as an excuse, concentrate on what we’ve got to do and give it absolutely everything.”
Bolton managerPhil Parkinson