Davies feels sorry for old boss but there's no time for sulking

The departure of Anelka means Bolton's wideman can return to centre stage

There was hardly a shortage of talking points as the Bolton Wanderers players gathered for their Friday-morning meeting ahead of today's local derby with Blackburn Rovers. Nicolas Anelka had been and gone, saying his goodbyes before heading south to Chelsea; television screens around the stadium were alternating that news with the latest fallout from Newcastle's sacking of Sam Allardyce only eight months after he left the Reebok.

For Kevin Davies, both items were a source of regret, yet he has been around long enough to know that players come and go just as fast as managers, and that one man's transfer is another's opportunity. Specifically, the powerful forward expects to have the chance today to revert to his favourite role as a central striker after filling in as a willing touchline worker since Anelka's arrival.

"It's a role I probably prefer," he said. "I've been asked to do a job on the right or the left. But the first couple of seasons with me at the top we had a lot of success and a lot of the lads scored goals off me. So that's probably the way we're going to be unless somebody comes in. Who knows? Last game I played I got brought off at half-time."

That should not be taken as a lack of confidence on the part of Gary Megson, Allardyce's successor-but-one after Sammy Lee's unhappy interregnum left Bolton bottom of the League. With El-Hadji Diouf off to the African Nations Cup, Megson is keen to find another striker but is likely in the meantime to trust Davies with the job of target man and principal scorer.

Megson said: "We've got a top-class centre-forward playing wide on the right who'd have been at centre-forward if we hadn't had a real superstar in Nic." Valuable as Anelka's goals were, an unselfish team manlike Davies somehow seems a better fit for Megson and Bolton.

Davies himself, choosing his words carefully, also implied that life without the player dogged by the tag of "Le Sulk" might have its benefits: "It's a difficult role playing out wide, trying to support your full-back and getting up there as well, it's hard graft. It's not a criticism of Nic, but sometimes as a striker you have to fill in and give the wide men a bit of a breather. In the first two years here I'd play like that with 'Dioufi'. Maybe we'll be willing to rotate and help people out a bit more like that.

"He's a world-class player but it's a good piece of business for the club, they've made a great profit. We feel we'll be okay. We're moving out of the mess but he's not done it by himself. He gets the goals but he didn't bring other things to the team, the work-rate and things like that, so maybe whoever comes in can bring different attributes to help the team."

Team spirit has mattered to Davies all the more since he perceived a lack of it in an unhappy spell with today's opponents. Successful at Southampton after starring in Chesterfield's famous run to the FA Cup semi-finals 10 years ago, he moved to Blackburn for an extravagant £7.5 million. "There's no real positives there for me. It happened and I moved on a long time ago. The dressing room wasn't great, I didn't play that many games. It wasn't a great time but it made me a stronger person."

As it should do for Allardyce, about whose demise Davies is equally forthright: "It's a joke. If they were sat in the bottom three you'd have something to cry about, but they're 11th. The fans there don't seem to have the patience. I can't understand it really, I just couldn't believe it. I thought he'd be given a bit more time, but once the fans and media got on to him he didn't stand much chance, did he?

"You knew where you stood with him," he added. "If he had something to say to you he would tell you, whether it was criticism or encouragement. His man-management skills and the way he knew how to prepare to beat a team were brilliant."

Lee having been given even less time at Bolton after trying to adopt a possession-based passing game, Megson is looking for a happy stylistic medium,and to general surprise he appears to have found one. As well as progressing to the knockout stage of the Uefa Cup – Davies scoring a rare goal to earn a draw away to Bayern Munich – Bolton have collected 15 points from his 11 League games, including a rapturously received home victory over Manchester United.

Davies says of his latest manager: "I think he wants a bit of everything, we're not Route One, he wants us to play to the best of our abilities, but first and foremost it's being hard to break down. Then once we get the ball, breaking with power and pace."

He said that in Friday's meeting, "we reviewed the last 10 games, which has been a decent phase for us, and set goals for the next 10. Looking at the fixtures, we feel we can pick up maybe 15 points." For Bolton, the future starts this afternoon.

Today's matches

Sunderland v Portsmouth

Premier League, 1pm, Sky Sports 1

Bolton v Blackburn Rovers

Premier League, 4pm, Sky Sports 1

Hereford v Shrewsbury

League Two, 2pm

Rangers v East Stirling

Scottish Cup, 3pm

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015