McFarland dismissed

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The Independent Online
ALAN NIXON

Roy McFarland was sacked as the manager of Bolton last night. Colin Todd, who had been working with McFarland, stays on as sole manager.

McFarland has paid for the shocking start the Premiership's bottom team have made to the season. They are eight points adrift after winning only two League matches.

McFarland, who was effectively the No 2 behind the scenes with Todd making most of the vital decisions, had actually been appointed as the senior partner in the management team in the summer after Bruce Rioch left to join Arsenal. McFarland and Todd have been friends for almost 25 years and he was Todd's choice as partner after he was sacked by Derby at the end of last season.

The decision, which is an attempt by the board to pacify fans who have singled out McFarland for abuse and started demonstrations last week, comes a few days before Bolton play an FA Cup third-round tie at Bradford, the club where McFarland began his career.

Todd will now seek an assistant, with Middlesbrough's coach, John Pickering, among the favourites.

William Prunier's stay with Manchester United has come to an abrupt end after just two games following Alex Ferguson's decision to offer the Frenchman an extended trial rather than a more permanent deal.

The former Bordeaux centre-back, who has paid up his contract in France and is looking for full-time employment, met the United manager yesterday after making appearances against Queen's Park Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur, which passed with varying degrees of success.

United were prepared to play Prunier in Saturday's FA Cup third-round home tie with Sunderland when they will be without Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister and David May. However, the 28-year-old will return to France where he has other offers.

Concerns over Pallister are growing with the possibility of a back operation to cure a sciatica problem that has already kept him out of the game for a month. Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel will be out for at least a fortnight after damaging a calf muscle at Tottenham.

Niall Quinn, who scored both goals for Manchester City against West Ham on New Year's Day, could be on the way to Sheffield United for pounds 1m.

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