Allardyce wants PFA backing for alcohol ban at Bolton

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sam Allardyce has called on the Professional Footballers' Association to back his plan to impose an alcohol ban on the Bolton squad. The Bolton manager wants his players to give up alcohol completely during the season and to be able to fine those who do not. But he admits that he needs PFA support to make Bolton an alcohol-free club.

Sam Allardyce has called on the Professional Footballers' Association to back his plan to impose an alcohol ban on the Bolton squad. The Bolton manager wants his players to give up alcohol completely during the season and to be able to fine those who do not. But he admits that he needs PFA support to make Bolton an alcohol-free club.

Allardyce is concerned with boosting his squad's performance on the pitch rather than curbing his players off it. "Our players are encouraged not to drink at all during the season because of the detrimental effect it has on the body" said Allardyce. "But you have got to understand that not all players will adhere to that because you can't put it in your club rule book.

"If you could put it in your rule book and the Professional Footballers' Association pass it, then we would put it in. If you caught anyone taking alcohol, then you could fine them accordingly."

Allardyce will go for broke when they host Arsenal in the FA Cup sixth round on Saturday. He knows a replay on 21 March, just two days after Bolton meet Norwich at the Reebok and Arsenal travel to Blackburn, would tip the scales decisively.

"We don't want to go back to Arsenal. We want to play it to finish on the day, if we can," said Allardyce. "Obviously, if we come down to the last few minutes and were 1-0 down, I will gladly accept a draw and take them on again at Highbury. But I'd rather not.

"Let's just go for it and do what we've done already this year and get another 1-0 victory over them."

Bolton go into the match on the back of a 1-0 victory at Manchester City on Monday thanks to a goal from El Hadji Diouf. "We can look forward to Arsenal now," said Allardyce. "We can look forward with great confidence and a lot of pleasure going into the quarter-finals.

"It is a magnificent performance by a group of players who are hoping to do better than Bolton have ever done and they are capable of that."

But the midfielder Kevin Nolan is wary of an Arsenal backlash. The Gunners have never won at the Reebok and a defeat there earlier this season played a huge part in denting their hopes of retaining the Premiership title.

Nolan is aware the FA Cup is Arsenal's best hope of a trophy this season, but also tips them to finish their campaign strongly. "Arsenal are desperate to get to a final," he said. "They're not out of the League yet - there's a long way to go. And don't go saying we've the hex over them either. They will be smarting from our victory in January and they will want to come back here."

The Trotters moved up to sixth in the Premiership after victory at Manchester City earlier this week and Nolan urged the fans to put in an appearance on Saturday. "You bet everyone here at Bolton is excited by this match and by what we can do in the Cup now there's only eight teams left," he added.

"Even the foreigners are excited by the game and what the Cup means. We tell them here it's a massive competition, but then they step out in the Reebok, like they did in the last round against Fulham, and there was only 16,000 there.

"I can fully understand why the fans stayed away, what with the price of season tickets, but the foreign boys must wonder whether this really is as big as we make out. Come Saturday lunchtime, they will be in for a shock. Because the atmosphere will be amazing. I reckon they might find out how big the Cup is against Arsenal.

"The gaffer's been drumming it in how much he wants to win it, and with any luck we'll have that full house which will act as our 12th man."

Comments