Coyle's future in the balance at Bolton

 

Owen Coyle, the Bolton Wanderers manager, remained on borrowed time last night, with his future at the Reebok now dependent on the club securing results from a difficult period of games just after the international break.

Saturday's defeat at Millwall, which left the club in 18th position in the Championship with just three wins from 10 games, prompted a meeting with owner Eddie Davies and chairman Phil Gartside yesterday. Although Coyle is likely to take Bolton beyond the international break, the prospect of playing third-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers and Middlesbrough away, after facing Bristol City at home, leaves the 46-year-old in a grim fight to hold on to his job.

Gartside last month said Bolton were looking for an average of two points per game in their quest for an immediate return to the Premier League , and that he and Coyle were putting themselves under "100 per cent pressure" to ensure they went back up.

Coyle retained many of his best playing assets in an attempt to secure that promotion, helped by the prospect of the improved top-flight television deal. But the sense that Coyle's grip on his job is weakening has been heightened by a home defeat to Crystal Palace and the 2-1 loss at the New Den which followed a 2-2 home draw with Leeds United.

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