Parkin­son is keep­ing his fo­cus on the pitch

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Football - KRISHAN DAVIS [email protected]­plc.com

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.”

Nathan Stirk/Getty Im­ages

Bolton man­agerPhil Parkin­son

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