Allardyce backs Bolton to be history-makers

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The Independent Football

Sam Allardyce, the Bolton Wanderers manager, believes his side will emulate the club's "class of 1958" should they qualify for European competition for the first time.

Wanderers won the FA Cup 47 years ago by beating Manchester United 2-0 at Wembley with both goals coming from Nat Lofthouse. A victory against Portsmouth on Saturday at Fratton Park will secure a Uefa Cup place at least.

Allardyce knows full well what a special achievement that would be. "When you walk about the town, you hear people talking about the club's great players, " he said. "Soon, though, it could be more about Bolton achieving Europe in 2005 rather than the Lofthouse era and winning the Cup at Wembley.

"Modern history will be created in its own right.

"We have never been in Europe," he added, "and if we do achieve that ambition it will put those boys who did a magnificent job for this club in a fading light."

Bolton complete their fixtures by entertaining Everton on the final day and Allardyce added: "All we can do now is to get into Europe so we can move into the strategy to enable us to compete at that level.

"It would help the profile of the club to have European competition on our CV."

European competition is also a possibility for Manchester City, who are just three points from seventh place in the Premiersip and the Uefa Cup qualification spot the position would bring. It would be a great achievement by Stuart Pearce, their caretaker manager who is seeking a permanent position with the club.

Pearce is maintaining his interest in the Icelandic midfielder Palmi Rafn Palmason with a visit to Iceland to see him play next month. The 20-year-old spent last week on trial with City following a recommendation from Pearce's former Nottingham Forest team-mate Toddy Orlygsson.

Pearce, who is expected to be confirmed as Kevin Keegan's permanent successor within a week of the final Premiership game of the season against Middlesbrough, is planning to fly north to see Palmason in action for KA Akureyri.

"Palmi has done reasonably well and I fully intend to have a look at him playing for his club," he said. "We only had him here for a week and while that gives us a baseline idea, we haven't been able to play him in a competitive match.

"I am not going to just look at him and discard him. The Icelandic season will be in full swing next month and that gives me the opportunity to watch him."

Having been relegated with KA last season, Palmason would welcome the opportunity of a move to the Premiership. Previously on trial at Stoke and Arsenal, the player is unlikely to cost City anything more than a nominal fee, a major advantage as Pearce has already admitted he is likely to be working with a minimal transfer budget.

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