Coyle waits for Bolton to seal deal

Burnley place manager on leave as clubs negotiate level of compensation
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The Independent Football

Owen Coyle was yesterday put on "gardening leave" by Burnley as the club attempted to negotiate compensation terms with Bolton Wanderers over their departing manager.

Coyle, 43, yesterday told Burnley he definitely wants to leave the club and take over the vacant manager's job at Bolton, turning down a late appeal from the Burnley chairman, Barry Kilby, to reconsider.

But the Scot was left in limbo as the two clubs fought over the exact meaning of the get-out clause in his current contract.

Coyle signed a new deal with Burnley in the summer when media speculation suggested that he would take over at Celtic. Burnley say Bolton have to pay £3m, because of the terms of the agreement, but Bolton disagree and say the contract states that £1m is due.

As a consequence of the row, Coyle will not take charge of training. The Burnley players are not due in today, and should the disagreement not be settled by tomorrow, then training will be taken by the coach, Steve Davis, who was caretaker manager at Burnley for one game in 2007.

Bolton are expected to confirm his appointment at the Reebok Stadium once compensation can be agreed.

Coyle led Burnley to promotion into the Premier League in his first full season in charge last year. The Clarets have exceeded expectations in the top flight this season, and are currently 14th, albeit just two points clear of the relegation zone after a nine-game winless run.

A Burnley statement yesterday read: "Owen Coyle has today reaffirmed his desire to leave Burnley Football Club and join Bolton Wanderers Football Club. Burnley Football Club will now enter discussions with Bolton Wanderers Football Club, due to the fact that compensation between the two parties has yet to be agreed. There will be no further comment at this time."

Coyle quickly emerged as Bolton's top target after the sacking of Gary Megson last week and was given permission to speak to Wanderers on Monday. Coyle took over at Burnley in November 2007 after cutting his managerial teeth north of the border with Falkirk and St Johnstone.

Manchester United's assistant manager, Mike Phelan, a former Burnley player, is one of the favourites to replace Coyle at Burnley, while the Hibernian manager, John Hughes, is also a possible candidate. Previous Premier League experience is not vital as the club are hoping to appoint another young manager as they did with Coyle. Another contender, the former Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson, was reported last night to have taken the vacant manager's job at Preston North End.

In the short term Davis will temporarily shift from his coaching job at Turf Moor to become Burnley's caretaker manager, having previously filled that role just over two years ago after the departure of Steve Cotterill.

Coyle is expected to take his backroom staff with him when he takes over at Bolton. Assistant manager Sandy Stewart and coach John Hendry would join him at the Reebok.

The row over the contract means Coyle is unlikely to be in charge for Bolton's Premier League game at Arsenal tonight. He is, however, expected to take charge of his new team for Saturday's vital trip to Sunderland.