Sublime Elmander proving valuable asset for Bolton

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Bolton Wanderers 3
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The Independent Football

Owen Coyle was serenaded by Bolton fans singing "We're gonna win the League" before he graciously admitted he has some very optimistic supporters. Their sense of optimism will be tested to the limit over whether they believe the services of Johan Elmander can be retained beyond the end of this season.

Elmander's contract expires in May and Bolton's chairman, Phil Gartside, has already issued alarmist statements about the possibility of selling the Swede in January to ease debts of £94 million.

At least his valuation will have increased by a few more million thanks to the wonderful solo goal which decorated Coyle's latest momentof triumph.

The striker is unrecognisable from the sullen figure he cut in his previous seasons at the Reebok Stadium. His swivel, within the space of a telephone box, to hypnotise Steven Mouyokolo and Karl Henry, before adding a finish to match, might alert more than a few bidders, even if Coyle is trying to remain calm.

"I would love to be able to tell people that he has signed a new three-year contract. His situation is one I am comfortable with. He is within his rights to let his contract run its course. He is giving me everything and he gives me the impression that he wants to stay. He is enjoying his football and if he did not want to stay he would not be playingfootball like that."

Elmander's contribution was the sublime to Richard Stearman's ridiculous own goal within 46 seconds that gave Wolves an added handicap after losing Christophe Berra in thewarm-up, and Stuart Holden's composure for Bolton's third goal was worthy of the interpassing between Kevin Davies and Lee Chung-Yong.

"We are making it very difficult for ourselves," said the Wolves manager, Mick McCarthy. "We should not be having to come back from three goals. We definitely should not be having to come back from one after 50 seconds. It was a great goal from Elmander from his point of view. It was bloody awful from my point of view and we lost the plot for a while after that. Having come back we should have got the equaliser."

McCarthy needs points not the patronising pats on the head from opposition managers claiming his side are too good to be in the relegation zone.

He will take some consolation from the manner in which Kevin Foley and Steven Fletcher gave Coyle "somemore grey hairs" with goals within a10-minute spell.

Fabio Capello arrived in time to see Matthew Jarvis miss one excellent chance and generally frighten the life out of Sam Ricketts.He had a hand in both of Wolves' goals and did more than anyone to spark their second-half revival in his audition in front of the England manager. Ultimately, though, it was in vain.

Attendance: 27,508

Referee: Peter Walton

Man of the match: Elmander

Match rating: 7/10