Sheffield Wednesday: Why Steve Bruce has sympathy for Bolton Wanderers boss Phil Parkinson

Sheffield Wednesday chief Steve Bruce has sympathy for his opposite number at Bolton Wanderers, Phil Parkinson, over the Championship club's off-the-field problems.

Monday, 11th March 2019, 6:06 pm
Updated Monday, 11th March 2019, 6:13 pm
Bolton Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson

Financial issues have hit Bolton hard in a turbulent campaign.

The cash-strapped club temporarily closed their training ground last Monday and Saturday's home match with Millwall was almost called because of safety concerns.

Bolton Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson

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Matchday and full-time staff received their February wages more than a week after they were due but Bolton’s players and coaching staff have yet to be paid. 

Bruce said: "I have sympathy for every manager; when you are up against financial restrictions, it is very, very difficult.

"But he (Parkinson) is a resilient so and so. He is experienced and that will help him."

Bolton's first-team squad issued a statement at 5pm yesterday to express their disappointment that club owner Ken Anderson failed to fulfil his promise to pay the outstanding salaries on Monday if a deal to sell the club had not been finalised. Now the English Football League want answers over the delay.

Owls manager Steve Bruce

An EFL spokesman said: “As a result, the EFL has taken the appropriate preventative steps in line with our stated policies in his area and we have asked the club for its observations.”

A four-strong Football Ventures consortium, headed by Parminder Basran and Sharon Brittan, remain in talks with Anderson over a buyout but complications had arisen over the weekend which put the deal into some doubt.

"You hope for a club with wonderful history of where it is and standing in the game that there problems can be resolved," said Bruce.

"How many times have we seen it over the years where a big club like Bolton find themselves financially in a mess? I hope they get out of it."

On the pitch, Bolton are fighting for survival. They are 23rd in the table with 10 matches remaining.

But Parkinson's side boosted their hopes of staying up by beating Millwall 2-1 last weekend. Second-half goals from Pawel Olkowski and Gary O'Neil helped the Trotters narrow the gap on their relegation rivals.

Bolton are now just five points behind the Lions, who are just above the drop zone in 21st.

Bruce said: "Bolton will be tough. They are fighting for their lives. They have had their problems over the last couple of years but they have still got a competent team.

"We will have to roll up our sleeves and show courage when we are on the ball. They are a big team and will ask you questions.

"The result on Saturday will give them a massive lift. We know what to expect, we know what is coming so we will have to play well to beat them.”

Bruce, who hopes Steven Fletcher (ankle/knee) will be passed fit to play, is refusing to underestimate the threat Bolton will pose.

"The Championship throws up some strange results," said Bruce.

"I am more concerned with how we play and if we play to our maximum and like how we did in the second half against Derby then we will be okay.”