Owen Coyle thankful for patience of Bolton fans

 

Bolton manager Owen Coyle is grateful to the club's fans for sparing him the abuse and protests being endured by Blackburn boss Steve Kean.

Just 16 miles separate the two north-west clubs currently deep in relegation trouble after 10 games of the Barclays Premier League campaign.

Yet whilst there is a section of support at Ewood Park determined to see Kean axed, Coyle so far appears to retain the respect of the Bolton faithful.

That was underlined last Saturday at Swansea's Liberty Stadium, where the Trotters slumped to their eighth defeat in nine games, but where fans unfurled a banner that read 'In Coyle We Trust'.

Ahead of Sunday's visit of Stoke to the Reebok Stadium, where Bolton have lost all five of their league matches this season, Coyle appreciates his position could be far more uncomfortable.

"Our fans have been great, brilliant. I've said that from day one, and it goes without saying," said Coyle.

"But equally we have to give those fans something to shout about. It can't be a one-way street all the time.

"That is something we have done since coming to this club because we have raised expectations.

"When we came in we were second bottom in the league and favourites for relegation, but we addressed that, and then last season we moved on with the quality of our football.

"We know there have been reasons it could have been better this season, that goes without saying.

"But I'm not going to sit here and hide behind excuses. We need to be doing better, regardless of what players we have missing.

"We've good players at this club, and they have to start delivering on it to start moving us up the league. It's as simple as that.

"When we won at Wigan (three weeks ago) perceptions changed, but since then a couple of opportunities have passed us by, at home to Sunderland and then at Swansea.

"We know a win in either of those two games and it's a different conversation we are having.

"That's why on Sunday we must go and look to win the game, to give everybody at the club a brighter outlook ahead of the international break."

Over at rock-bottom Wigan, just eight miles away, chairman Dave Whelan this week vowed he would never sack Roberto Martinez.

Bolton owner Eddie Davis and chairman Phil Gartside have yet to issue such fervent backing to Coyle, but the Scot is far from fazed.

"It's something you need to ask Eddie and Phil about," added Coyle.

"The bottom line is I'm very comfortable in my job, which I do to the best of my abilities.

"If there is any pressure in football then it will certainly be me putting myself under pressure, which is to win every game for this club.

"Whatever the outside influences, they are what they are."

Coyle is clearly thick skinned because he is adamant no matter what comes his way should the situation worsen, he will not be paying any heed.

Coyle said: "My focus is on the players, not about what's on the periphery. It's not something that concerns me.

"If you get caught up in that, it's taking away from what your job is, which is to make sure the players are performing to their best.

"Whatever goes on outside, everybody has their own opinion, and I don't mind people's opinions as long as they don't get personal.

"I've had it before, had it as a player when people thought I should have been doing better, but that's the nature of football and why we love it because everybody has an opinion."

Still without five players through long-term injury, the only other absentee is Ricardo Gardner who serves a one-match ban following his dismissal at Swansea.

PA

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